SAN DIEGO’S OLD TOWN—GUEST BLOG—By Alana Coons--The annual celebration of Mexico's revered holiday, Día de los Muertos returns to Old Town San Diego on November 1 and 2, produced by Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) as a part of the historical and preservation group’s educational and cultural programming.
The celebration is a means of bringing the community together to experience the tradition and culture surrounding Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos is not to be confused with Halloween, which precedes it; the celebration is neither ghoulish nor morose, rather it is festive, colorful, and joyful.
This is the largest Day of Dead event in the region. The free family oriented event invites visitors to explore Old Town San Diego from one end to the other to view dozens of ofrendas or altars seen throughout businesses, museums, shops, and restaurants.
"This is one of my very favorite events in Old Town," said Diane Powers of Bazaar del Mundo. "The tour of altars is very dramatic and especially spectacular in the evening, when each altar is aglow with a multitude of candles. Also not to be missed is a visit to El Campo Santo Cemetery along San Diego Avenue, where the gravesites are decorated and the whole cemetery is illuminated."
Multiple zones are identified on the event map this year for easier navigation where visitors will find 8 zones, all with a different variety of altars, music, dancing, and family-oriented craft activities animating the streets and plazas of Old Town. Many craft-making sessions are free and designed for all ages. Come make paper masks or flowers, have your face painted to look like a colorful sugar skull, or decorate plaster sugar skulls to honor someone who has departed this life.
Alana Coons, Education and Communications Director for SOHO, says that "the goal is that everyone will be able to experience the magic of an event that is unlike any other in San Diego and leave with something both culturally and emotionally lasting, as well as having just a great, fun time."
Visit during the day and again at night, for two very different experiences. The easy map defines the areas to visit, activities of all types traditional to the holiday will be found at each zone. Maps can be downloaded at SDDayOfTheDead.org.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transit, which comes directly into Old Town, car pool, or if you live close, to walk. Parking and transportation information is located on the website. For more information about this free event for all ages, visit SDDayOfTheDead.org.
DAY OF THE DEAD EVENT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SPONSORSHIP OF CAFÉ COYOTE IN SAN DIEGO’S OLD TOWN.