Every year, Tucson families celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones on the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The holiday has indigenous and Catholic influences, coinciding with All Saints' Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls' Day on Nov. 2. Some believe that during this time, the souls of departed family members return for a visit. As a way to honor their ancestors, families decorate graves, prepare food and create ofrendas, or altars, with photos of the departed.
Just to be clear, the All Souls Procession on Sunday, Nov. 3, is NOT directly connected to Día de los Muertos. That event was created by Tucson artists and has since become a place of expression for multiple cultures, although Day-of-the-Dead threads are prevalent.
So with that being said, here are some distinct, Día de los Muertos events coming in the next week.
Chiles, Chocolate and Day of the Dead
What: Take in personal ofrendas from local artists and schools and a community altar at Tohono Chul where guests can leave their own remembrances. Then, check out dozens of food and craft vendors selling goodies inspired by chiles, chocolate and the Day of the Dead.
When: Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Tohono Chul, 7366 Paseo del Norte
Cost: $15 for general public, $5 for members, free for kids 12 and younger
Feast with the Dearly Departed
What: Go to the Tucson Botanical Gardens for live music, face painting, sugar skull decorating and food. Visit the ofrenda in the Barrio Garden and leave your own mementos.
When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way
Cost: $15 for adults, $8 for kids, $10 for adult members, $5 for kid members
Coco and Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure at the Fox Theatre (Sponsored)
Watch Coco (2017) at the Fox Tucson Theatre just in time for Día de los Muertos. Come dressed in your best sugar skull attire for the movie and enjoy face painting by Glitter Girls, kids activities and photo ops on Sunday, Oct. 27. Kids 12-and-under are free. Then Tuesday Oct. 29 enjoy Sugar Skull! A joyous, heartfelt adventure that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of Día de los Muertos. Featuring a company of gifted musicians and dancers, this colorful stage production is the perfect fall entertainment for youth and family audiences alike.
Where: Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress
Día de Los Muertos: On the Indigenous Roots of the Holiday
What: An evening of dinner, dancing and crafts will explore the pre-Hispanic roots of Día de los Muertos. Pima Community College's Native American Student Association is inviting local students to participate in an altar-making contest. Go here for more information on how to participate.
When: Friday, Nov. 1, 4:30-8 p.m.
Where: Pima Community College West, 2202 W. Anklam Road, in the Santa Catalina Building.
Cost: Free, but bring canned goods to donate to the campus food pantry
Día de Los Muertos Celebration at South Lawn Cemetery
What: Families gather at the cemetery to adorn graves and remember their loved ones. There's an altar-building contest, a procession, food vendors and a screening of "Coco."
When: Saturday, Nov. 2. It's an all-day event, but the procession and movie will happen later in the day as the sun goes down.
More info: Call 520-294-2603.
Craft Day and ofrendas at Presidio San Agustín del Tucson
What: Families can make paper marigolds and other offerings that adorn Día de los Muertos altars. Guests can also visit the Presidio Museum's altars honoring veterans and ancestors of families who participated in the display.
When: Families can craft Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The altars will be on display Saturday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 3.
Where: Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave.
Cost: Free with general admission, $5 for adults, $1 for kids ages 6-14 and free for kids 5 and younger.
Aztlán Artifacts Studio Día de Los Muertos exhibit
What: Check out the Día de los Muertos altar and art exhibit at this new art gallery.
When: Fridays, 5-8 p.m. through Nov. 8, or by private appointment
Where: 174 E. Toole Ave.