18th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente

October 23 & 24, 2021
Mariachi music and Folklorico dancing, colorful and elaborate ofrendas (altars), insightful heritage programs, and Day of the Dead inspired crafts for the kids.

Festival Day One – October 23, 2021 – 9am to 5pm

Courtyard After Dark – October 23, 2021 – 5pm to 8pm

Festival Day Two – October 24, 2021 – 9am to 5pm

Celebrate the history and culture of Mexican, Mexican American, and LatinX communities in Northern Arizona at this annual fall event. Also known as the Day of the Dead, this event is a celebration of life, music, dance, food and heartfelt remembrances.  Rooted in community, this weekend-long event is presented in partnership with Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces.

Throughout the weekend, MNA’s Jaime Golightly Courtyard will be decorated with intricately cut papel picado (pierced paper) and lovely arranged ofrendas (altars) to welcome past loved ones to the party.

Courtyard After Dark Saturday, October 23, 5pm – 8pm
Enjoy an evening viewing of the community ofrendas (altars) against a backdrop of candlelight and strolling mariachi music.

About Our Yearly Celebration

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is an ancient holiday. It may have originated with the Olmecs, the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico. This celebration was continued by other cultures such as the Toltecs, Mayans, Zapotecs, and Aztecs.

During the celebration, memories of ancestors are celebrated and the souls of the departed return to visit the living. The Museum’s historic courtyard is lined with ofrendas, each one telling the story of a Flagstaff Hispanic pioneer family. Papel picado banners and sacred copal incense herald the celebration. Golden marigold flowers symbolize the brevity of life and lend a scented pathway to returning spirits. Candles are lit for each family member who has passed on. Calaveras (sugar skulls) sweeten the tongue and mock death with their whimsy. And sweet pan de muerto (bread of the dead) honors the dead.

Each year, Nuestras Raices creates a community ofrenda and invites visitors to bring photos and mementos of their loved ones to contribute to this special place of memory and reverence. Nuestras Raices will also give a presentation about Dia de los Muertos traditions and the preparations of ofrendas.