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Top Day of the Dead celebrations in Texas

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

The Mexican holiday takes on a Texan flavor with these fiestas and days-long celebrations.

Once every year, the spirits of the departed come back to life to reunite with their families. Loved ones welcome them with favorite foods and drinks, photos, and other objects on brightly colored altars.

That’s the idea behind Día de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2 that blends indigenous beliefs and European traditions.

Here in Texas, a state with deep ties to its southern neighbor, Day of the Dead celebrations vary from an easygoing fiesta in a Terlingua cemetery to a two-day party in San Antonio.

Check out some of the best Día de los Muertos events happening across Texas this year.

dia de los muertos celebration

A group of women wear traditional sugar skull masks and costumes for the Día de los Muertos celebration in San Antonio, Texas. | Photo by Florin Seitan/Alamy Stock Photo

San Antonio

Why go: This two-day festival brings together the best of traditional and contemporary culture and art for the ultimate destination event. Visitors will see an altar exhibition and contest, workshops, a procession with dance, drum and puppets, and live poetry.

Time, date, and location: 10 a.m.–11 p.m. October 26 and noon–9 p.m. October 27 in downtown San Antonio near La Villita Historic Arts Village.

More info: muertosfest.com.

Dallas

Why go: Marking Big D’s first citywide Día de Los Muertos celebration, this 1.5-mile parade is already a contender for the largest in the country with more than 30,000 people expected to attend. It will feature floats with altars, catrins and catrinas (the male and female skeletons that have become synonymous with the holiday), and other traditional and familiar objects.

Time, date, and location: The parade begins at 5 p.m. October 26 at Dallas City Hall.

More info: fb.com/dallasdiadelosmuertos.

Terlingua 

Why go: To match the laid-back spirit of Terlingua (near Big Bend National Park), about 400 residents and visitors will get together to prepare altars and enjoy tamales, music and beer to honor the Mexican miners, families, and other residents buried at the town’s cemetery. 

Time, date, and location: Sundown on November 2 at the cemetery outside of town.

More info: ghosttowntexas.com. 

Corpus Christi

Why go: This annual family-friendly street festival features performers on several stages playing a wide range of Mexican music, from mariachi to Tejano, and more than 85 artists, bakers, and makeup artists offering one-of-a-kind items. Community members also create altars for the Walk of Remembrance Ofrenda Display at the historic Ritz Theatre. Visitors to the Walk of Remembrance can leave pictures and objects for their deceased loved ones on a tribute wall.

Time, date, and location: 3 p.m.–midnight November 2 in downtown Corpus Christi near Artesian Park.

More info: diadelosmuertoscc.com.

Houston

Why go: The Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) community center’s Day of the Day celebration is now in its 19th year. The event honors both Mexican traditions and the Old Sixth Ward community. It includes an altar exhibition, a two-day festival, community workshops, and a silent auction.  

Time, date, and location: MECA’s altar exhibition begins October 25; the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. November 2 and 3; and the silent auction is scheduled for November 8. All activities take place at the old Dow School building at 1900 Kane Street.

More info: meca-houston.org/dia-de-los-muertos.

Austin

Why go: The highlight of Austin’s largest and longest-running Día de los Muertos festival, Viva La Vida, is a grand procession with costumes, dancers, live music, and floats. But there are also four distinct areas, including a makers’ section with artist demos and a lowrider exhibition. The event promises to uphold traditions while leaning into Austin’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird.”  

Time, date, and location: The parade begins at noon October 26 on Sixth Street between I-35 Southbound Frontage Road and Red River Street. 

More info: mexic-artemuseumevents.org.

El Paso

Why go: At the site of a Texas state historical cemetery, this annual festival gives locals a chance to honor loved ones lost (sadly, more relevant than ever this year in El Paso). Whether dressed in traditional Mexican clothing or attending with a calavera painted on their face, visitors can meet artisans, see Aztec dances and hear mariachis, or set up an altar for relatives buried at the cemetery.

Time, date, and location: 2–8 p.m. November 2 at Concordia Cemetery.

More info: fb.com/diadelosmuertosfestivalelpaso.

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