San Pedro Dia De Los Muertos Festival

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    Dia De Los Muertos or “Day Of The Dead ” is a Mexican Holiday where people celebrate and honor their relatives who have passed as a way to show their remembrance. It goes on from November 1st to November 2nd.  In San Pedro people have celebrated Dia De Los Muertos in multiple ways. One of the ways it was celebrated this year was with a festival that happened on October 23rd right here at downtown San Pedro at 6th street. It started at 2 PM and went on until 8 PM.  This year the “San Pedro Dia De Los Muertos” celebrated its 10th annual anniversary. A cool fact about the festival was that it first started in 2012 and two years after their first festival only 6,000 people attended but by 2018 the number was bumped up to 12,000! I wonder if this year’s festival broke their attendance record again! 

 

  One thing that this festival featured was Folklorico dancing. Folklorico dancing is done to celebrate and bring joy to the spirits that visit the families during the holiday. With its bright colors and movement, it is said to resemble and express one’s life in a form of dance. At the front of the festival there was a folklorico company performing right next to a mariachi band! They performed multiple performances that were so eye-catching that they stopped my family and me right in our tracks! We stood and watched for a while since the way they moved was so mesmerizing! It was the same company that performed at Dana’s “Dia De Los Muertos” night performance! How cool is that? 

 

  Another tradition that was featured at the festival were the gorgeous altars that were set up all over the festival as you walked around. Families displayed pictures of their loved ones on a set table called an ofrenda with many flowers surrounding the photographs. But there were also some unique altars and statues that stood out to me. They featured skeletons in long colorful dresses and skirts. Sitting on some of the statue’s skirts there were multiple photographs that presented an altar. 

An Example Of One Of The Artworks

 

  A staple flower that was used in the altars were Marigolds.  The reason being is because of the bright colors and because of the smell.  It is thought that the smell and colors attract the souls of the people. Foods were displayed among the photos as well, people usually place down the favorite food of the person who has passed. The tale is that when you place food or flowers on your loved ones’ altar they will come and visit you, enjoy their gifts and then place it back down at the end of their visit.  To go along with that, the festival also made a tree where you could write a message on a leaf to send to your relatives or whoever you want to honor and place it on the tree so that it could reach them.  This was such a wonderful way to remind people’s family members that they are still loved and remembered even after passing over. I was able to send a message to my grandpa and it just brightened the whole rest of my day! When you walked down the lane you could see that there were multiple shops, most sold items such as jewelry, stickers, and hats.  Some shops also offered skull face paintings to represent the people of the dead. They used beautiful bright colors for the details on the face painting such as flowers around the eyes, making them stand out more glamourizing than ever. 

 

  There were also a couple food trucks spread down the main road in case you got hungry. Serving delicacies such as twister potatoes and desserts like ice cream sundaes as well. I was tempted to get every single thing on the menu but had to face the devastating “No” from  my mom.

 

   The community garden also had an open house while there was a dance company named “Dance Tech” performing nearby. I stood and watched the little kids perform to “Un Poco Loco” from the disney movie Coco for a little bit before going inside the community garden and they were just the cutest little things ever! They did a great job too! When I went into the community garden they had a fun activity where you could create a drawing and they would display your art piece/pieces on a hanging string. My brother and I got a little bit carried away with the colors! But that’s not all, when my family and I went down the street we were greeted by two people in clown costumes. They were guarding a halloween shop, I myself got a little spooked to go inside, but when I did it was the coolest thing ever! They had lots of cool costumes and were even doing giveaways. Every 30 minutes they did a giveaway on some of their coolest halloween collection items! My family and I found ourselves coming back about 3 times! My brother was even able to get a beanie baby stuffed bear! While we walked back we passed the mariachi band that we saw earlier. We watched them perform a few more songs, but after that we had to make our way home. I was so sad to be leaving but so happy that I was able to come and experience this wonderful festival. 

 

  If you celebrate Dia de los Muertos, what are some of the ways you celebrate or what are some of the traditions that you follow?  Do you think you would attend this festival now that you know about it? I sure know I will! If you’d like to, make sure you remember the date “October 23rd 2023”, or you might miss out!