Celebrate Día de los Muertos at these free festivals in the San Antonio area

Want to celebrate Día de los Muertos?

Muertos Fest San Antonio (Francisco Cortes, Muertos Fest)

SAN ANTONIO – Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 as a celebration of tradition and pre-Hispanic rituals that date back to more than 3,000 years ago.

Olmecs and subsequent Toltecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Maya, and Aztecs honored the symbiotic relationship between life and death, according to The Mexican Museum.

Part of the celebration of Día de los Muertos also includes altars, known as ofrendas. They’re a way for families to honor deceased loved ones and provide them with things they will need for their journey to return to the land of the living.

Many ofredas are decorated with the Mexican marigold also known as cempasúchil or Aztec marigold. The marigold is the traditional flower used to honor the dead.

Muertos Fest San Antonio (Muertos Fest)

Want to celebrate Día de los Muertos? Here are some upcoming events where you can participate in the holiday:

New Braunfels Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival - Oct. 22

This annual festival, hosted by the New Braunfels Chamber’s Hispanic Business Alliance, will start at noon on Saturday, Oct. 22 with the party coming to a close at 10 p.m.

There will be live entertainment, food trucks, face painters, shopping, contests, kids activities and an ofrenda.

SpiritLandia River Parade and Festival - Oct. 27-30

There will be a ticketed parade starting at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 along the San Antonio River Walk as part of the SpiritLandia River Parade and Festival.

On Oct. 28-30 there will be a variety of community activations and live music. There will be lights, music, food and family activities at the La Villita Historic Village every night of the festival from 6-11 p.m.

Muertos Fest - Oct. 29-30

Muertos Fest, San Antonio’s largest Día de Los Muertos festival, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at Hemisfair on Oct. 29-30.

Los Lobos, a Mexican-American rock band from Los Angeles, has been announced as the headliner for Oct. 29.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend Muertos Fest this year. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public.

In addition to live music from more than 50 musicians, there will be original artwork, dancing, live poetry, a drum and puppet procession and the largest open altar exhibition in San Antonio.

KSAT12 will be on-site on Saturday, October 29 to record a prime-time special, which will air on Sunday, October 30 from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. on KSAT12, KSAT.com and KSAT+.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30.

KSAT12 has announced plans to broadcast “Día de los Muertos at Hemisfair,” popularly known as “Muertos Fest” in October 2022. (Día de los Muertos at Hemisfair)

Historic Market Square - Oct. 29-30

Bring the family out to enjoy beautiful altars built in memory of departed loved ones and celebrate with cultural processions from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30 at Historic Market Square.

Festivities include face painting, artisans, festive food, and authentic market shopping.

There will also be trick-or-treating at participating stores from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The annual event will also showcase performances by live Mariachi bands and Ballet Folklorico dancers,” event organizers told KSAT.

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with events at Market Square and La Villita. (City of San Antonio)

Día de los Muertos celebration at the Pearl - Nov. 2

Pearl is honoring a traditional Mexican holiday with its annual Día de los Muertos celebration.

The free event will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the Pearl, located at 303 Pearl Parkway.

Visitors can expect multiple altars/ofrendas, children’s activities, live music, art installations and more.

There will be stilt walkers from the dance company at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, drummers and puppets, Los Olvidados & Las Monas, and live music from Mexican-American folk singer and San Antonio native, Tish Hinojosa, according to a press release.

El Rincon del Alebrije, presented by the Mexican Consulate, will have wooden guitars and calavera banks for kids to paint and take home.

Día de los Muertos celebration at Pearl (Pearl)

You can also take a self-guided altar tour at Market Square from Oct. 21 through Nov. 14.

Día de los Muertos is a two-day holiday that reunites the living and dead and should be seen as a celebration, not a day of sadness.

“People come together in their cities, dressed up with Calavera painted faces (Skeletons) and have parades in the streets,” the website states. “Cemetery visits are also common on the last day as families will go to decorate the grave sites with Marigold flowers, gifts, and sugar skulls with the departed’s name on them. It’s customary to clean the grave stone and restore the color.”

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.