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First-Ever Day of the Dead Celebration at Oakland

For the first time ever, the traditional Day of the Dead festival organized by the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta and the Institute of Mexican Culture will take place at historic Oakland Cemetery on Sunday, November 6 from noon to 5 p.m.

Visitors of all ages will learn about and experience a Día de Muertos festival. Guests will enjoy traditional dancing, crafts, authentic Mexican food, and entertainment. They can also view a display of altars decorated with flowers, food, and beverages honoring lost family and friends.

Day of the Dead originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead disrespectful. For these pre-Hispanic cultures, death was a natural phase in life’s long continuum. The dead were still members of the community, kept alive in memory and spirit, and during Día de Muertos they temporarily returned to earth.

Today, Día de Muertos celebration is a blend of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Christian feasts. It takes place on November 1 and 2—All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on the Catholic calendar— around the time of the fall maize harvest.

It’s not a macabre occasion, but rather a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on.

It’s not a macabre occasion, but rather a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the importance of Día de Muertos and added this holiday in 2008 to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, along with Mexican traditional cuisine.

The Day of the Dead festival is presented by Historic Oakland Foundation, Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta, the Institute of Mexican Culture, Atlanta History Center, and the Office of the Government of Guanajuato in Georgia.

Admission is free. Dressing up for the occasion is encouraged! There will be a Catrinas and Catrines costume contest with cash prizes for the first places (kids and adults). Registration for this contest will be at the festival entrance.

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