From midnight on October 31 through November 2, this celebration of souls highlights the strength of family, the honoring of ancestors, and the continuance of life. The Day of the Dead is celebrated with great joy as the living reconnect with loved ones lost through death. It is an expression of belief that death is not the end of life but rather the continuation of life in the afterworld. During the holiday, the spirits of the deceased are invited back to enjoy the comforts of their earthly life. Festivities surrounding the Day of the Dead vary from solemn religious celebrations to events with exuberant party atmospheres – each family and community has different and unique customs.
Where did it come from?
The dead have been celebrated in the area that is now Mexico for hundreds of years, dating back to Aztec mythology, and the goddess of death, Mictēcacihuātl. In 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes invaded what is now Mexico, bringing with him the Catholic religion and the rule of the King of Castile during the first wave of Spanish colonization in the Americas. The beliefs and traditions of the colonizing Spanish and the conquered Aztecs, Mayans, and indigenous peoples collided and merged over time. The cultures were deeply religious, and as conversion to Catholicism progressed, the many gods from the polytheistic native religions became associated with Catholic Saints, while festivals and holidays blended with feast days from each culture.
The Day of the Dead is an example of cultural blending. The Catholic holidays of remembrance – All Souls Day and All Saints Day fell around the same time as traditional harvest celebrations and feasts honoring the god and goddess of death. The belief in afterlife was shared by both cultures and endured. The Day of the Dead is a national holiday in Mexico and is celebrated in many countries with growing popularity in the United States. Today, this union of deep beliefs from many world cultures has resulted in the modern holiday to honor the dead. Many people celebrate the day regardless of their nationality or religious background. Every generation that celebrates adds their own layer to the cultural collaboration. Each region, city, parish, village, and family have their own traditions, which enables the festivities to be richly layered.
Celebrate with us
The Figge Museum in partnership with LULAC and Hola America / Hola Iowa invite you to celebrate the Día de los Muertos Family Fiesta on Sunday, October 24 from noon to 3 p.m.
The event and entrance to the museum are free all day
Join us as we celebrate Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, at the Figge Art Museum and honor the memories of our loved ones through music, dance, food, and community. Step inside the museum to visit the exhibition, along with the LULAC Youth Council traditional altar. Outside, guests will enjoy food and performances on the Figge plaza. Come dressed as a Catrina to enter our costume contest and join our parade around the building. If you would like to share a picture and/or memory of a loved one who has passed, please email the information to [email protected] to be shared on our community altar.
Schedule of Events:
Noon – 5 pm: FREE Museum Admission, Exhibitions and Films
Noon – 3 pm: Food and performances on the Figge Plaza
12:30 pm Ballet Folklorico
1:30 pm Catrina Costume Contest
2:00 pm Live Music Performance
2:45 pm Sidewalk Parade around the Figge Art Museum
*Masks are required for guests inside the museum
*Register at our website for our Virtual Family Fiesta, launching Saturday, October 23rd.
The Figge Museum is located at 225 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA.