Dia de Muertos Celebration in San Diego, CA

2:50:00 PM

Disclaimer: All photos taken are the property of Just Happiling and you may not use them without written consent. Nonetheless, we do not own the right to the art displayed in these photos, as they are shared from a press point of view to inform our readers about events happening in our home town. We did not received any compensation for shout-outs and mentions in this blog post.

There are two Holidays that I just love, and both are celebrated very close to one another; Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos. While 'Dia de los Muertos' is a Mexican Holiday, it brings me such joy to see more Countries around the world adopting this beautiful celebration. 

Last Saturday, we went to Old Town Historic Park, in San Diego, California and enjoyed an evening of music, and themed art. Old Town, on a normal day, is a very interesting place to visit, mostly because of the haunted areas. Therefore, I couldn't think of a better place to host this culturally colorful celebration. If you wan't to enjoy this event, the last day to visit will be tomorrow November 2nd, the actual Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos).

What to expect? You will see loads of themed decorations around the park, and you might bump into both, individuals taking you back in time to the Old West with their costumes, and those that are part of the celebrated event, and dressed for the occasion. You can find face-paint, so that you can also look like the Catrines (Skeleton Characters), and you'll also bump into Holiday inspired souvenirs and other products. Expect to be exposed to music, in celebration of the event, and areas where you can appreciate some of the Dia del Muerto altars that have been created in memory of those that are celebrated on this folkloric day. 

National Latino Peace Officers Association - Day of the Dead Altar, in honor of their fallen heroes.
There will be different events happening, depending on the day you are visiting. If you happen to go today, November 1st; expect to enjoy Folklórico Dancing, the Mariachi Divinas, and Los Rios Mariachi Fusion, happening at Fiesta de Reyes. Plus a giant skeleton puppet bride and groom, the face painters, and the Tamale/Guacamole cart at the Park Plaza.

If you are visiting tomorrow November 2nd; expect to enjoy: Folklórico Dancing, Los Rios Mariachi Fusion, Luis Max & Blue Moon, Giant Skeleton puppet and skeleton stilt walker, at the Fiesta de Reyes. While at the Park Plaza, you will be able to find the giant skeleton puppet bride and groom, children's arts and crafts, giant skull painting demonstration, paper flower making demonstration, wheel of fortune, face painters, tamale/guacamole cart, Aztec Dancers, and more. Just remember that since November 2nd is the actual Day of the Dead, there will be a Procession to the Cemetery from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Our Experience
We had a lot of fun, as we submerged ourselves into the different areas of the celebration. Since I am Mexican, I was able to share some of the beauty of the Holiday with my husband, and also enjoy it myself, since it has been a few years, since the last time I actually visited Mexico during Day of the Dead. Usually in my hometown, we start creating altars at the beginning of October, so that there is enough time for people to appreciate them. However, there isn't usually a big parade or such, as it does happen in Mexico City and other places. Nonetheless, the special day is really, again, the Day of the Dead itself, when you go to the cemetery and bring flowers to your relatives who have passed. Something done often anyways, but on that day, even more so. I've seen people bringing food and having lunch right there, honoring their ancestors.

It was a beautiful and refreshing thing, to see how the Holiday is celebrated in California. To be honest, I wasn't aware that they would do this type of event every year here, but I am glad that we got to visit this past weekend, and have a little bit of my culture, right here to share and again, enjoy.

Parking wasn't easy to find, so please take your time, and be patient. As soon as we got to the park, we noticed that there were a lot of people around the Park Plaza.

It was fun to see visitors dressed up like Skeletons, and Catrines. Some only had their face painted, or hair peaces with flowers, which in my opinion, was wonderful to observe. 

When we got there, the CV Youth Mariachi band was playing. I don't know what it is about Mariachi music, but it always makes me want to start singing. Although, I limited myself to just a short while. I try to avoid torturing souls, both living and dead. Better leave the Pros to it.

There was also a band named 'Santana Pa Ti', which is a tribute band to Carlos Santana's music. I must say, they were really good. Find more about this band here: (Santana Pa Ti on Facebook).

Since we were already at Old Town, I wanted to take advantage and visit my favorite shop Casa de Pedrorena de Altamirano, where you can find: Miner's Gems, rocks, fossils, and jewelry. I love collecting crystals, so this place was a must-visit for us.

Of course we couldn't leave the shop without a treat, and since we would celebrate our wedding anniversary in a few days, we got ourselves something special; the amethyst shown below. It's not easy to find deep purple amethyst crystals, and to us, it has deep romantic meaning, thus, perfect for our anniversary.

As we continued walking along the shops, headed towards the Church, we visited the alleys to see what we could find. To our surprise, there were a lot of little shops and stands. It was very exciting!

For people like me, that really love Dia de los Muertos, there were a lot of themed products around the alleys of Old Town, that would definitely be of interest. You were also able to find artisans working wood, metal, and other materials, while selling their products. And if you are not that much into the Day of the Dead, you can also find other folk-inspired products. We were able to find a special gift for Grandma, because her house is decorated with lovely Mexican decor, and thus, it was the perfect event to find such gift. 

And of course, we couldn't resist some good traditional Mexican candy. We had an early trick-or-treat. 

Something that caught my attention, was a very peculiar stand. At the beginning, it seemed to have cute stuffed toys/products, but once I paid attention, I noticed something else. A little dark, yet cute, then a little grotesque, but still--fun? Welcome to Lume di Luna Designs; where you can find one of a kind, re-purposed art, clothing, and accessories, created by Kimberly Allison.

As you can see in the photo above, right next to the cute re-purposed cashmere stuffed animals (to the right), you could find stuffed eyeballs--yes, eyeballs. That was not it...

There were a bunch of curiosities, among them; a felt eyeplant, scary dolls, and other oddities. Mark, the artist's spouse, shared with me, that although their 'normal' merchandise is not as creepy, this is about the only time of the year, where people do not freak out with these interestingly unique pieces created by his wife. I shared with him, that although this wasn't really my thing, I could appreciate the artistic side to it. However, I could totally see myself buying some of these things for Halloween, or just decoration. I totally loved those skeleton stones, shown in the picture below. 

If you want to find out more about their products, you can visit www.lumediluna.com or follow via social media Lume di Luna Designs Facebook or @Zombiemaker on Instagram. Please let us know in a comment if there is anything in these last three photos that caught your eye, literally, lol. We'd love to know.

As we headed back, we were able to appreciate more of the event, and Dia de los Muertos altars.

When I saw this guy in the photo below, I thought it was awesome. Considering that we are working towards owning a farm, I thought this was brilliant. What do you think?

For more information on this event, visit http://www.dayofthedeadsd.com/

All in all, we had a lot of fun! It makes me feel very joyful, to see people celebrating Day of the Dead, because for me it is a very special day. It's how we keep our loved ones immortal in our thoughts, and celebrate their life, even after death. When I was little, I was told that between Halloween, and the day of the Dead, both the land of the dead and the living are able to interact, and this was precisely why we chose to get married on November 1st, so that our ancestors and my grandparents could be present in spirit during our wedding. Aren't weddings all about family anyways? What better day to celebrate the union of family, than during these celebrations. I know, I know, it might sound odd for some. To me, since I was always very connected to my grandparents, it just felt like I was honoring their presence on a day in which I truly wanted them there. 

So just remember, if you want to assist to this event, tomorrow is the last day. Have fun, and until the next time, remember to smile--not only because it's contagious, because when 'La Calaca' comes for us, better to be caught smiling, rather than with a frown.


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