Día de los Muertos in San Jose, CA

Explore the Day of the Dead festivals + events happening around town.

A family stands in full Day of the Dead regalia — including face paint, skeleton heads, sombreros — at a festival setting.

Thousands of San Joseans come together for our annual Día de los Muertos celebrations.

Table of Contents

With our city’s vibrant Mexican heritage + community, Día de los Muertos celebrations are already gearing up around San Jose.

To prepare — let’s explore the roots of this holiday and some of San Jose’s upcoming celebrations.

A skeleton figure is dressed in makeup and fancy clothes.

La Catrina is a popular icon in Día de los Muertos celebrations.

Photo via Eric Luna

💀 The history

Día de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead, is a holiday traditionally celebrated November 1-2. It’s believed that its roots go back 3,000 yearsthrough Mexico’s Aztec and pre-Aztec indigenous peoples — and it is celebrated in communities with Mexican heritage to this day.

An important distinction: this is not a “Mexican version of Halloween.” In this “celebration of life,” participants are reunited with the souls of dead relatives + loved ones. The honored dead are often given offerings at gravesites or ofrendas (alters) at home, and are celebrated with festivals.

💀 Local celebrations

This Sat., Oct. 15, San Jose will celebrate the largest Día de los Muertos festival in the South Bay, Día San José, at Cesar Chavez Park. The event includes live music, face painting, lowrider ofrendas, and indigenous craft vendors — but it’s not the only way to join in the holiday.

Don’t miss out on these other events:

Are you planning on attending one of these celebrations? Be sure to tag us on social media, or email any photos to be featured.

More from SJtoday