Calaveras County Dia de Los Muertos (Murphys 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 participants and community spirit. Join us for the celebration in Murphys Community Park from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, featuring face painters, Folklorica dancers, Rondalla musicians, and artisan vendors. Traditional food and drinks will be available for sale in the park while supplies last. This is a great family friendly event for loved ones of all ages.

Yay! This event will take place rain, shine, or power outage 😆. Wondering how PGE PSPS events will impact your travel in Calaveras County and the Ebbetts Pass corridor? Learn more through our Guide to Calaveras PSPS Events here.

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

Murphys Dia de Los Muertos – New This Year

  • 10th Anniversary Founder’s Dinner: “Cuisine with a Mayan Heart” – Taking place Saturday November 2nd from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Old School House in Murphys, CA (details below). This event does not require power. Tickets are ALMOST sold out, RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE TODAY!)  

  • First Annual Murphys Dia de Los Muertos Symposium – Taking place Friday November 1st at the Murphys Historic Schoolhouse, the Friday before Murphys Day of the Dead at 6:00pm as well as Saturday, November 2nd at 11:00am. Buy tickets for the Murphys Dia de Los Muertos Symposium here.

Murphys Dia de Los Muertos – What to Expect

This celebration is 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.

Here in Calaveras County, participating businesses will be offering authentic cultural art, food, sugar skulls, face painting, and live music, as well as displaying altars celebrating the lives of those who have passed on but are with us in heart and spirit on the Day of the Dead.

We’ll once again include a Catrina and Catrin Dress Contest at 4:30 pm on Saturday afternoon in Murphys Park followed by a brief remembrance.  Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muertos will be available for purchase during & after the ceremony. Please sign up in the Park before 3:00 pm on Saturday to participate in the Catrin & Catrina Contests. Children are welcome to participate in our contest for younger Catrin & Catrinas at 2:00 pm in the Park.  Please come by fifteen minutes early to grab your spot, no advance registration necessary for the kids.

The celebration in the Park will include traditional entertainment beginning at noon featuring folklorico dancersmusicians, food and drinks for sale and authentic craft vendors.  Purchases of food & drinks will benefit the Murphys Community Club who are responsible for maintaining and improving our lovely park along the creek.  This year the folklorico dancers will again offer dancing lessons in the Native Sons Hall at 2:30 pm.

Download the Dia de Los Muertos 2019 schedule here: 2019 Day of the Dead Schedule

.Murphys Day of the Dead

New this year: Children are welcome to participate in our contest for younger Catrin & Catrinas at 2 pm in Murphys Park.  Please come by fifteen minutes early to grab your spot, no advance registration necessary for the kids.

Murphys Dia de Los Muertos – The Ancient History 

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

This ancient holiday traces its 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 bread, 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 candlelight, as well as the scent of marigolds and copal incense, will help the ghosts find their way back home.

There will be activities appropriate for children as well as face painters.

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

Additional information on the history, traditions, and beliefs associated with the Day of the Dead can be found on the mexconnect website.

Thank you to our major sponsors who make this event possible:

Catrin and Catrinas at Murphys California Park Dia de Los Muertos festivitiy

Dia de los Muertos I Courtesy of VIsit Murphys

Algiers & Main
Dignity Health
Marisolio Tasting Room
Tanner Tasting Room
Calaveras County Arts Council
Calaveras Winegrape Alliance
Jomas Artisan Ice Cream
Lila & Sage
Murphys Grille
Murphys Historic Hotel
Murphys Pourhouse
Rob’s Place
Sierra Hills Market and Natural Food Store
Sierra Nevada Adventure Company
The Spice Tin

Please thank them when you stop in next time.

Other supporters of this event include:

Catrin and Catrinas at Murphys California Park Dia de Los Muertos children catrinasfestivity

Dia de los Muertos Children I Courtesy of Visit Murphys

Aria Bakery
Black Sheep Winery
DEA Bathroom Machineries
Gold Star Plumbing
Gossamer Cellars
Ironstone Vineyards
Milliaire Winery
Murphys Treasures
Newsome Harlow Wines
NEXT Upscale Resale
Sabrina Julian Investments
Stevenot Winery
The Garden in Murphys
Villa Vallecito

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