Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday that originated in Mexico as a way to celebrate loved ones who have died. Traditions associated with the holiday include visiting gravesites and creating home altars called ofrendas that are filled with the deceased’s favorite foods.
Organizations throughout Arkansas are inviting the public to participate in a variety of celebrations taking place over the next couple of weeks. A few of the events are listed below. If you would like your celebration added, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 22 through November 6
In conjunction with the Museum of Native American History, Fenix Arts is sponsoring an art contest and exhibition to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Juried by Zeek Taylor and Erika Nelson, the show features selected artworks that are on display at Mount Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville. There will also be a traditional altar set up at the gazebo in front of the gallery to pay tribute to the health care workers and other heroes that were lost to COVID-19.
This daylong festival will include a traditional community ofrenda and family-friendly events on the Bentonville museum’s front lawn. The celebration includes workshops, a screening of Coco, mariachi music, dance performances and food.
10 a.m. — Altar Comunitario
The Latin Art Organization of Arkansas will build an ofrenda at Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale.
5 p.m. — Day of the Dead Alley Party
A collaboration between the Central Arkansas Library System, Consulmex Little Rock and Downtown Little Rock Partnership, this Day of the Dead multicultural celebration for all ages will feature music, food, crafts, entertainment, activities and an altar display. The outdoor party will be at CALS’ Main Library Alley, which is located at 100 S. Rock Street in Little Rock.
6 p.m. — Community Offerings
The community is invited to bring their offerings to the ofrenda constructed by the Latin Art Organization of Arkansas at Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale.
6 p.m. — LXTP Presents: Día de Los Muertos
This free community event in Springdale will pay tribute to and remember the individuals who were activists, entertainers, artists and important leaders in our cultures. The LatinX Theatre Project — along with Alan (aka Toxic), Springdale High School art students and the Teen Action and Support Center — have created a special showcase of ofrendas to honor these people. There will be plenty of food, a special LXTP performance and family-friendly activities to commemorate this time-honored tradition. There will be a special community ofrenda that invites the community to contribute by commemorating the people in their own lives who have passed. These ofrendas will be on display after the event at CACHE (Creative Arkansas Community Hub and Exchange) until Nov. 7.
5 p.m. — Día de los Muertos Food Sale
El Centro Hispano in Jonesboro will be selling traditional Mexican baskets for $150. The baskets include two Latin meals, drinks, a Mexican serape (colorful blanket), Day of the Dead ornaments and instructions for celebrating Día de los Muertos at home with your loved ones.
10 a.m. — Día de los Muertos Bike Ride
Join Arkansas Latinas en Bici for an 11-mile loop around Lake Fayetteville, starting from Shiloh Square in Springdale. Come show off your catrina (skull) face and be sure to decorate your bike with colorful calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons). After the ride, stay for tamales, pozole, churros and hot chocolate.
10:30 a.m. — Opening Reception for Día de los Muertos Exhibition
Arts One Presents will host an artist reception at Con Quesos to celebrate the opening of Día de los Muertos: A Cultural Interpretation of the Times, an exhibition in partnership with the Latin Art Organization of Arkansas, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and Downtown Springdale Alliance.
12 p.m. — Celebración del Día de Muertos
The Catrinas Processional will begin at noon at Shiloh Square and go through downtown Springdale, ending at Shiloh Square where Mariachi Joya Azteca and Ballet Folklorico Herencia de Mexico will perform. Their performance will officially open the community-wide Día de Muertos celebration. Traditional music and dance will be performed throughout the afternoon. The festival will also include crafts and face painting for kids, as well as food vendors.
12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. — Día de Muertos with Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc.
Join Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc. in celebrating Día de los Muertos with a craft activity at the Fayetteville Public Library. The activity is intended for Grades 1–4 and will involve painting; please dress accordingly. There will be two sessions for the same craft offered with limited registration. The first session will be from 12:30 – 12:50 p.m., and the second from 1 – 1:20 p.m. Please attend only one session. Registration is now open. In keeping with the City of Fayetteville Ordinance 6465, all persons visiting the library are required to wear masks covering their nostrils and mouth.
3 p.m. — Día de los Muertos Festival
Plaza Frida and Ballet Quetzalli are hosting a celebration of culture and ancestry in Little Rock with food, music, fun and memories to share together. You can also participate in an ofrenda and catrina contest. The deadline to register for the competition is Nov. 2.
5 p.m. — Art Exhibition Reception
Fenix Arts will host a reception for its Día de los Muertos exhibition with a reception at Mount Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville. The event will feature a Mexican dance performance and traditional bread and beverages will be offered.
November 6 through December 4
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Dia de Muertos: A Cultural Interpretation of the Times
This art exhibition, hosted in partnership by Arts One Presents, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and the Latin Art Organization of Arkansas, will welcome approximately 30 works from artists of Latin ancestry and allies of the Latin culture and traditions. The works will be on view at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. Admission is free and the museum is open Monday through Saturday.