Day of the Dead

Murphys Day of the Dead includes traditional art, food, sugar skulls, face painting and live music, as well as displaying ofrendas (altars) celebrating the lives of those who have passed on but are with us in heart and spirit on the Day of the Dead.

Murphys Day of the Dead, David Gonzales

Murphys Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos is a heartwarming celebration of those we’ve lost. We honor this festival’s Mexican roots with traditional music, dancing, ofrendas, Catrina and Catrin costumes and community spirit. Join us for the celebration in Murphys Community Park from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, featuring face painters, Folklorica dancers, Rondalla musicians, and artisan vendors. Traditional food and drinks will be available for sale in the park until 4:00 pm while supplies last. This is a great family friendly event for loved ones of all ages.

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

This celebration is traditionally full of life, happiness, color, food, family and fun. In Mexico, outdoor markets display and sell symbolic items like special breads, pottery, baskets, candles, paper puppets, candy skulls and flowers. Skeletons are also an important symbol of this day and are displayed hugging, dancing and laughing in shop windows and on street corners.

We’ll once again include a Catrina and Catrin Dress Contest beginning at 4:30 pm Saturday afternoon in the Murphys Community Park will be followed by a Candle Light Procession to the Cemetery. Those wishing to participate in the procession should meet in the Murphys Community Park at 5:45 pm. Make sure to bring your flashlight and warm clothing. Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muertos will be available for purchase after the brief ceremony and traditional story.

Want to participate in the Catrina and Catrin Dress Contest? Please note: men and women must sign up for this year’s pageant by 5:00 pm Friday, November 3rd–Los Ninos (the children’s group) get a special extension, and can sign-up all the way through the day of the event.

.Murphys Day of the Dead

New this year: the Folklorica Dancers will be offering dancing lessons in the Native Sons Hall beginning at approximately 2:00 pm. Purchases of food, wine and beer will benefit the Murphys Community Club who are responsible for maintaining and improving our lovely park along the creek. In the event of rain, all entertainment and displays will be moved nearby to the Native Sons Hall at 389 Main St. in historic downtown Murphys with the Catrina contest taking place in the Black Bart Theater.

The History of Day of the Dead

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

This ancient holiday traces it’s roots back to the indigenous cultures of Mexico, Latin America and Europe but has become inextricably intertwined with the Catholic observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day over time. Although this celebration is associated with the dead, it is traditionally a period full of life, happiness, color, food, family and fun. In Mexico, outdoor markets display and sell symbolic items like special breads, pottery, baskets, candles, paper puppets, candy skulls and flowers. Skeletons are also an important symbol of this day and are displayed hugging, dancing and laughing in shop windows and on street corners.

Traditional activities are believed to “welcome the souls of the dead.” The souls are said to return each year to enjoy the pleasures of the life that they once had. These souls are thought to return as spirits from another world to be with their loved ones for a few brief hours. A widely held belief is that the souls of children (angelitos) return first so food and gifts appealing to children are set out for them. The adult dead are said to return a day or two later and their favorite items as well as elaborate food and drink are set out for them as well. It is believed that candle light as well as the scent of marigolds and copal incense will help the ghosts find their way back home.

The public is welcome to participate in the remembrance of loved ones by contributing items to local altars. Please contact individual business owners first, to make sure there is an appropriate space for your item.

See a video of the highlights from the 2014 Murphys Day of the Dead event.

Murphys Day of the Dead | Lisa-Marie Pohl Photography

Murphys Day of the Dead | Lisa-Marie Pohl Photography

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