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Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, meaning Day of the Dead, is a holiday in Mexico, parts of Latin America, and the United States. This holiday honors dead loved ones and makes peace with the eventuality of death by treating it familiarly, without fear and dread. The holiday is derived from the rituals of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Mexico. Led by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as “Lady of the Dead,” the celebration lasted a month. After the Spanish arrived in Mexico and began converting the native peoples to Roman Catholicism, the holiday was moved to coincide with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1 and 2, respectively).  Learn more


Mariposas La Llorona Pan de Muerto Musica

Discovering the Monarch Butterfly with Dr. Court Whelan

Discovering the Monarch Butterfly and their Migration to Mexico by Court Whelan, PhD.Dr. Court Whelan, an expert in Entomology and Ecotourism, provides an overview of the monarch butterfly, its basic life history (metamorphosis, host plants, etc.), and a deep dive into its phenomenal migration. He also discusses how they find their way and navigate, what cues them to begin migrating, why they started to migrate as a species upwards of 20,000 years ago, how the migration was discovered, and key conservation topics today.

Introduction to Día de los Muertos

Sociology Faculty Alicia Robles López discusses the origins and cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos along with her personal experience with the day.

Día de los Muertos Films

Endangered Migration: A Monarch Butterfly Story

The annual monarch butterfly migration to Mexico is at risk, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed monarchs as an endangered species.

Mexico: Day of the Dead- My Americas

In this program, Roberto Alcaraz travels to Oaxaca to discover one of Mexico’s most defining and colorful feasts, celebrated every year on November 2nd. 

Festivals: Day of the Dead, Mexico

Festivals: Day of the Dead, Mexico

This film showcases Mexico’s Día de los Muertos celebrations that unite the living and the dead in feasting, dancing and decoration. 

Days of the Dead: A Living Tradition

Days of the Dead: A Living Tradition

The film follows the travels and experiences of a young Purépecha artisan, her grandmother, and their family during the weeks leading up to the Día de los Muertos.

Día de los Muertos: A History

Día de los Muertos: A History

Celebrate Día de los Muertos. This multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and to remember those who have died.

Artbound: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead

Artbound: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead

This film offers a more intimate look at Día de los Muertos through the story of artist Ofelia Esparza who continues the tradition of building altars to remember the dead. 

Día de los Muertos Books

Día de los Muertos Academic Articles

La Llorona

La Llorona Statue

“La Llorona” is a folk legend with origins throughout Mexico, the US, and Central and South America. The oldest version of the legend dates to 1550 in Mexico City. The basic legend is about a beautiful woman from a less privileged background (usually a poor Indian) who is seduced by a man of privileged status (usually a rich Spanish hidalgo). They have children, but after some time, the man leaves. In the legend, she kills her own children either because the man threatened to take them or because the woman has been driven crazy by grief, envy, or rage. Because drowning is the most common death in the many versions of this story, La Llorona is usually said to haunt waterways, and she even has a creek in Texas assumed to be a translation of her name, Woman Hollering Creek. Read more

La Llorona Academic Articles

La Llorona Books

Make Pan De Muerto

Learn to bake Pan de Muerto with English Faculty Violeta Sanchez and Computer Science Faculty Nery Chapetón-Lamas! Notes on the Pan de Muerto Demo with Time Stamps

Ya Llego el Día de los Muertos

Written and Performed by EdLalo Carrillo, Blanca Arias, Luke Lara
“Ya Llegó el Día de los Muertos” is an original song written and performed by local North County musicians. It is a song that commemorates the day of the dead, which is celebrated in many cultures. This song is in both English and Spanish, and played with non-traditionally paired instruments. This represents the borderlands and mixture of cultures. Blanca and EdLalo are on vocals, EdLalo plays guitarrón, and Luke plays the charango. The guitarrón is a six-stringed Mexican instrument that means “big guitar.” It is typically played in Mariachi groups and is similar to a plucked bass. The charango is a ten-stringed small Andean instrument, similar to the lute, that originated in the Quechua and Aymara populations throughout the Andean corridor. This song is upbeat and signifies that celebrating the dead is festive instead of sad.