During the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (celebrated from Oct 31-Nov 2), people honor loved ones who have died by bringing them to life with colorful ofrendas (altars) adorned with memorabilia and calaveras (sugar skulls), and taking part in many other traditions. This year in Seattle, there are lots of opportunities to learn more about and celebrate the holiday through performances, food, music, and more.
Seattle Center Festál and the Dia de Muertos Festival Committee present this festival honoring those who have passed in a joyful celebration with performances, elaborate altars, colorful face-painting, sugar skull workshops, visual art, and more. Tune in for the virtual presentation on Sunday, October 31, and visit the Dia de Muertos altars at Fisher Pavilion.
(Oct 30 - Nov 7)
Phinney Neighborhood Association
Chilean musician Marco Cortes and Mexican dancers Bailadores de Bronce will perform live at this event, which will also feature Mexican hot chocolate, pan de muerto, and street tacos from Luna Azul. Free arts and crafts will be available in the parking lot, and you're invited to bring offerings for their community altar, which will be on display throughout November.
(Sat Nov 6)
Throughout the week, community ofrendas and artworks will be on display at the Burien Community Center, Burien Library, Maverick Apartments, and Para los Niños. If you have little ones, stop by the Burien Farmers Market on Thursdays to pick up craft kits from the Discover Burien booth.
Centro Cultural Mexicano
Targeted at Spanish speakers, this free, family-friendly Redmond event will feature live music, tamales, an art exhibit, COVID-19 vaccines, and more.
(Tues Nov 2)
This two-part celebration from the Issaquah Cultural Circle starts on October 30 at the Historic Shell Gas Station with an outdoor altar, music, and Latin market. Then, on November 2, celebrations continue at the Issaquah Community Center with another altar, plus mariachi music, dancers, a loteria game and art workshops, and a food truck.
(Sat Oct 30 and Tues Nov 2)
Lynnwood Convention Center
The organizers write, "This Day of the Dead celebration, sponsored by the WAGRO (Washington-Guerrero) Foundation and the City of Lynnwood, features a contest of altars, catrinas, and calaveritas literarias (poems) and is calling for contestants. A jury will determine the winners in each category and the first, second and third prizes have a monetary award. Those interested in participating must apply by October 27th."
(Sat Oct 30)
Sixth Ave Tacoma
The organizers write, "Paint your face, get dressed up or come as you are. Learn more about Dia de los Muertos history, join the sidewalk skeleton parade down 6th Ave, listen to live music, eat Latin food and shop local craft vendors."
(Fri Oct 29)
ART MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum celebrates Día de los Muertos every year with a tapete (sand painting) created by Fulgencio Lazo and a group of local artists. Local Oaxacan group La Banda Gozona will perform live at the opening celebration on October 30 at 1 pm, which will also be livestreamed.
(Oct 29 - Nov 10, Wed–Sun)
Tacoma Art Museum
TAM writes, "Celebrate the 17th annual Día de los Muertos Festival with community altars in the museum.... Safe social distancing means we won’t be able to host thousands on October 31st as we had hoped, but our commitment to this festival has not wavered. Visit TAM October 20 – 31 to view the tapete (sand painting) by acclaimed artist Fulgencio Lazo and our exhibition of community-built ofrendas (altars.)"
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
BIMA will have an ofrenda on display from October 30–November 7. At the opening day celebration, they'll offer "a butterfly procession, opening presentation with public remembrances and offerings, face painting, art activities, and a matinee screening of the Spanish-language version of the film, Coco."
(Sat Oct 30)
Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery
Pick up cute gifts and check out a Día de Muertos exhibit at this White Center gallery focused on communities of color.
(Thurs–Sun, through Oct 31)
ShoreLake Arts Gallery
The organizers write, "Come by the ShoreLake Arts Gallery and add to the community altar from 12pm on November 2nd. And don't forget to pick up a free sugar skull sticker at the Gallery!" They'll also have demo videos on their website for sugar skull making and other crafts you can do at home.
(Tues Nov 2)
FOOD & DRINK
Pastry chef Karen Sandoval couldn't readily find pan de muerto in Seattle, so she decided to make her own and sell it through this bakery pop-up. Choose from black cocoa, orange anise, or pumpkin, with optional Nutella or dulce de leche filling. The pop-up will be available in Burien on Saturday and in Renton on Sunday.
Savor the ancient agave-based Mexican spirit mezcal with a four-course dinner from El Camino, featuring pairings from the single-village producer Del Maguey. You'll learn about the distillate's history, regions, makers, and makers over the course of the evening.
(Tues Nov 2)
Treat a friend (or yourself) to a gift box of intricately decorated sugar skull-inspired macarons, with unique flavors like ube, Thai tea, birthday cake, Fruity Pebbles, salted caramel, and orange creamsicle.
The local bakery chain is offering pan de muerto, the traditional pan dulce traditionally baked during the weeks leading up to Día de los Muertos and often served alongside departed loved ones' favorite foods. Pre-orders are recommended—orders must be placed by noon two days in advance.
(Sat Oct 30)
PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE
Entre Hermanos Día De Muertos Gala
The organizers write, "Join us to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Entre Hermanos in honoring beloved ancestors and continuing the fight for LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights! Since 1991, Entre Hermanos has promoted the well being of LGBTQ+ Latinos in Washington State through medical case management, legal services, civic engagement, and community building. All event proceeds of this Gala benefit the health and well-being of the Latino LGBTQ+ community." Performers will include Atasha Manila, Isabella De La Rosa, Yesenia Cruz, Carolina Fuentes, and the Seattle Opera.
(Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Sat Oct 30)