Dia de los Muertos Festivals

While Dia de los Muertos is observed across Southern California in a number of moving, mirthful ways -- small parties in homes, private visits to family grave sites, art workshops and solemn services -- we also like to call upon the big, lavish celebrations around the city. Concerts, processions, sugar skulls and colorful altars crowded with personal mementos of affection and remembrance lend the Day of the Dead a sense of joy and continuity for the living, and a way to spend a bit more time with someone gone but still present in the hearts of those who loved them. Here are three we hope to visit:

Dia de los Muertos Festival: Attendees are encouraged to think "calaca" (skeleton-like) when dressing up. Plan to stroll by flower-bedecked altars, listen to touching ballads and spend a haunting evening in Hollywood Forever cemetery. $5 (children under 10 admitted free). Saturday, November 1, 4-11PM. Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. 323-447-0999

Canoga Park Dia de los Muertos Festival: Sherman Way opens up to pedestrians at the Valley's largest Dia to-do. Enjoy Aztec dance, altars, a tribute to Santana, a classic car show and a procession to Our Lady of the Valley church. Sunday, November 2, 10AM-5PM, Sherman Way, Canoga Park, (between Canoga Avenue and Vassar Avenue). 818-346-4892 

Dia de los Muertos at Olvera Street: Ballet Folklorico, Mariachi bands and candlelit walks mark the Day of the Dead in this historic corner of Los Angeles. Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, 10AM-9PM. Olvera Street, 845 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles. 213-680-2525

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