Dia de los Muertos in San Jose

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

A women dressed in Día de Los Muertos attire, stands in front of San Jose Museum of Art.

Kick off the season of remembrance at Día San José.

Photo via Día San José

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Levantar tu alma, San José — Dia de los Muertos celebrations are already gearing up around the great 408.

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

🪦 A time of remembrance

Dia de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead, is a holiday traditionally celebrated Oct. 31-Nov. 2. It originated in Mexico, with roots tracing back 3,000 years to Aztec and pre-Aztec indigenous peoples. To this day, it’s celebrated in communities with Mexican heritage, and all over Latin America.

A close-up shot of an ofrenda with pictures, marigolds, and an alebrije.

Ofrendas usually include pictures of the deceased, marigold flowers, and candles.

Photo via Día San José

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 Saturday, Oct. 21, San Jose will celebrate the largest Dia de los Muertos festival in the South Bay, Día San José, at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The event includes live painting, lowrider ofrendas, luchador battles, and Indigenous craft vendors — tickets will be available at the door.

But, it’s not the only way to join in the holiday.

A young boy + woman post together in skeleton clothing and painted faces.

See how the South Bay celebrates Día de los Muertos.

Photo by Benny Villareal via Día San José

Check out these other events:

  • Inaugural Día de los Muertos Celebration | Saturday, Oct. 21-Saturday, Nov. 4 | Times vary | Signia by Hilton, 170 S. Market St. | Prices vary | Get ready for a blessing + performance from Calpulli Tonalehqueh, tequila tastings, a winemaker dinner, and specialty menus.
  • Día de los Muertos | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. + 1:30-4:30 p.m. | Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way | $16-$18 | Larger-than-life skeleton puppets, a Calaveras procession, and sand painting await.
  • Día de los Muertos Run-Walk | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | Alviso Health Center, 1621 Gold St. | $45-$85 | Festive attire or makeup is encouraged at this health initiative fundraiser for those who can’t afford medical insurance.
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