Birmingham Día de los Muertos—how to celebrate + more

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Join the fun on November 2 at the Birmingham Día de los Muertos. (Dia de los Muertos Alabama / Facebook)

November is almost here which means the Birmingham Día de los Muertos celebrations start soon. With everything from local artists and vendors to sugar skull masks and live music, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Keep reading to learn how to celebrate and remember the Day of the Dead.

What is Día de los Muertos?

Originally brought to Mexico by Spanish invaders in the 1500s, Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the souls of deceased relatives. Families remember their loved ones through altars, parades and personalized masks. The holiday is celebrated universally between November 1st and 2nd.

Celebrating loved ones through altars

Day of the Dead 3 Birmingham Día de los Muertos—how to celebrate + more
Enjoy beautiful handmade altars at the 2022 Birmingham Día de los Muertos. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Altars (ofrendas) are personal memorials built to remember the lost loved one. Tradition states, that the altars are made to guide the deceased souls when they visit during Dia de los Muertos. They can be as simple as a singular picture or as grand as a shrine.

Altars may include:

  • Photos
  • The departed’s favorite food, drink, books + more
  • Marigold flowers
  • Prayer candles
  • Water + salt to revive the soul after the long journey
  • Monarch butterflies
  • Sugar skulls
  • And more

1. 20th annual Día de los Muertos, Bare Hands

Birmingham Dia de los Muertos
Decorate skull masks + celebrate your loved ones. (Bare Hands)

Remember and celebrate! Bare Hands, Inc is a 509(a)(2) nonprofit public charity that focuses on cultivating creativity and innovation in the Birmingham area. They create opportunities for artists to play an active role in the creative process and cultural dialogue.

Local artist Tracy Martin was inspired to start the first Day of the Dead celebration after her father and photographer during the Civil Rights era, Spider Martin, passed away. She went to Guillermo Castro for expertise, and the event came to fruition. Their Birmingham Día de los Muertos celebration unites different cultures and is now celebrating its 20th year.

“We started our Birmingham Día de los Muertos event in 2003 and hosted it in the Bare Hands Gallery with around 100 people. This year, we are expected to have over 8,000 attendees. Although it is based off of Mexican heritage, this is an inclusive event for everyone to join.

One of my favorite things, and it gives me chills to think about, is when we do the Memorial Roll Call. This is when we announce the names that people have sent in to honor their deceased loved ones.”

Aimee Castro, President, Bare Hands, Inc

2. Día de los Muertos at Carrigan, Latinos Con Onda

latinos con onda
Keep the party going with Latinos Con Onda. (Carrigan Beer Garden / Facebook)

What started as a word-of-the-mouth party group, Latinos Con Onda has turned into one the ultimate groups for Latino-style parties. This celebration will be hosting Karla Lazo, an ambassador for Latin music from Paris, as well as other great DJs.

Want more Day of the Dead celebrations? Make sure to join the Latinos Con Onda Día de los Muertos event for live music, art, body painting and fire performance for the family to enjoy. Plus kids can try painting a skull mask and parents can enjoy beer.

Other events to get Day of the Dead ready

Homewood Public Library (Feliz Día de los Muertos):

  • What: Celebrate the Day of the Dead while enjoying snacks, crafts and music while learning more about the holiday
  • When: Thursday, October 27 | 6-7PM | 1721 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL, 35209
  • Link | FREE (All ages)

Painting with a Twist (Bride and groom skull painting):

BONUS: Drive up to Huntsville for their Dia de los Muertos events!

How are YOU celebrating Día de Los Muertos in Birmingham this year? Let us know on Instagram + Facebook.

Emma Johnston
Emma Johnston
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