It’s never been a problem for Dallasites to find drink deals or late-night events for Cinco de Mayo, but when it comes to celebrating authentic Mexican holidays like Día de los Muertos, the options are scarce–and usually very Americanized. That’s beginning to change, though, and we have Latinx groups across North Texas to thank. This fall brings three new, exciting, and Latinx-led events for Día de los Muertos. From the city’s first Day of the Dead parade to exhibits of ofrendas crafted by local artists, here are some things to see this Día de Los Muertos in DFW.
Dallas Día de los Muertos Parade
What seems to be the biggest tribute that Dallas has given to the holiday is the very first Día de los Muertos Parade and Festival taking place downtown this Saturday. The event is set to become the largest Día de los Muertos Parade in Texas–even bigger than San Antonio’s famous parade–complete with floats, altars honoring the deceased, and calaveras.
The parade has raised some questions about authenticity, because Día de los Muertos isn’t typically celebrated with a parade. But Mexico City-born Mauricio Navarro, executive director of the parade, says he’s committed to executing the event respectfully.
“We’re being very vigilant, our standards of tradition are going to be upheld. This is something that we’re going to have to control very tightly,” he says.
As a child growing up in Houston, Mauricio’s Día de los Muertos were marked by altars composed of family member’s photos and stories his father would tell him of his late relatives. Navarro says that his experiences as a Mexican immigrant, combined with years of producing the St. Patrick’s Parade, and dealing with the loss of his father and sister all brought him to found this parade. “It was just the perfect storm of being who I am, my background, my experience of loss and grief, and my Hispanic heritage that made all this come to fruition,” says Navarro.
When: 4-11 p.m.; parade from 5-7 p.m.
Where: Dallas City Hall Plaza. Latino Cultural Center will have a separate fest from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Betsabeé Romero: An Altar in Their Memory/ Un Altar en Su Memoria
Latino Arts Project, Dallas’ new non-collecting museum is celebrating Día de los Muertos with an interactive art exhibition by Mexican artist Betsbeé Romero.
A lot of the fascination with Día de los Muertos comes from what people see in movies and trends, and the museum wanted to showcase the holiday through a more traditional lens, says Latino Arts Project executive director Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime. The exhibition will have an altar, true to Mexican tradition. But it will also feature another, immersive altar that utilizes contemporary elements to pay homage to migrants who have died crossing the U.S. border, and those who have suffered from gun violence.
“You’re celebrating the souls that died trying to find a better life, crossing the border,” says Gonzalez-Jaime.
When: October 22-November 17. Museum is open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Latino Arts Project, 1130 Dragon Street.
Cost: $12; Seniors, students and military, $6.
Latino Hustle: Día de los Muertos 2019
Latino Hustle, a Fort Worth-based collective, is using Día de los Muertos to embrace local Latinx art. The collective will incorporate traditional ofrendas created by artists, as well as a marketplace with artists and vendors who are all Latinx.
Jessika Guillen, a founder of the collective, admits that she didn’t grow up celebrating Día de los Muertos. “I wasn’t always a participant of those traditional aspects of our culture, but I’m still really attached to it,” Guillen says. Oftentimes, children of immigrants don’t grow up celebrating the holiday, but now that they’re older, they want to know more about it. Events like this can help younger people in the Latinx community learn more about the holiday, and, in turn, their heritage.
Although the collective is composed of mostly millennials, the event is family-friendly and meant to attract Latinos and non-Latinos from every walk of life.
When: Nov. 2, 4-9 p.m.
Where: FWBLACKHOUSE, 1105 Peach St, Fort Worth.