Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, the tradition of annually honoring deceased ancestors and loved ones on November 1 and 2, has been adapted for centuries from its pre-colonial roots to the popular depictions in mass media today. Inspired by Oaxacan traditions, it was brought to East Los Angeles in the 1970’s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity. Learn more about the tradition's roots and explore the various ways Día de los Muertos is celebrated across Southern California.
Support Provided By
Film School Shorts

"Dia de los Muertos"

A little girl visits the land of the dead and experiences the holiday Dia de los Muertos.
Season 2 Episode 5
Marigold surrounding a black and white photo at an ofrenda at Grand Park for Día de los Muertos in 2020 | Rafael Cardenas
Southland Sessions

In Pandemic, Self Help Graphics’ Día de los Muertos Celebration Builds New Relationships

“I think that, for us, is the biggest challenge, like, how do you convey what can be a really powerful and beautiful experience for people through these virtual channels?” explains Self Help Graphics Executive Director Betty Avila.
Joseph Leahy in calavera and an altar in the background during Dia delos Muertos | Still from "Artbound" Dia delos Muertos / Day of the Dead

Joseph Leahy - A Personal Día de Los Muertos Journey

A transplant to Los Angeles since 1988, Joseph Leahy has taken on the traditions of Día de los Muertos and incorporated it in his life.
“The Four Seasons” by Alfredo de Batuc (1979 Commemorative Dia de Los Muertos Print) | Courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art

Self Help Graphics & Art's Día de los Muertos Legacy Told Through Prints

For over four decades, Self Help Graphics & Art become emblematic of the Day of the Dead in L.A. not only through its community celebrations but also through the annual limited-edition prints they commission. Take a look at some of these memorable prints.
Ofelia Esparza leads a grounding exercise at a Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event called “Theories of Change and Transformative Cultural Practice” in April 2019. | Timo Saarelma, courtesy of ACTA

Ofelia Esparza Brings Altar-Making Beyond Dia de los Muertos

A legend in the art of altar-making, Los Angeles artist Ofelia Esparza has taken the tradition of altar-making beyond the confines of Día de Los Muertos and uses it to heal communities and people.
Car altar with Virgen de Guadalupe during Self Help Graphics & Art's Día de los Muertos procession | Courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art

The Shapeshifting Nature of Días de los Muertos and its Role in Chicanx Culture

Often portrayed as a Mexican tradition, the practice of honoring the dead in early November is also part of other Latin American and European cultures. Today it is also firmly entrenched in Chicanx culture. Find out how this tradition has evolved.
Woman in calavera face paint during Día de los Muertos | Photo from "Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead" ABs10

Dia de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead

Inspired by Oaxacan traditions, Dia de Los Muertos was brought to L.A. in the '70s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity. It has since grown in proportions and is celebrated around the world.
Season 10 Episode 3
Día de los Muertos 1977| Courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art

How Modern Day Día de los Muertos Came to L.A.

Self Help Graphics & Art introduced Día de los Muertos to the United States in 1972. For decades, the legendary arts organization has been the premier producer of the celebration, which is now replicated in communities all over the country.
Active loading indicator