Dia de los Muertos on Olvera Street – DTLA

“As the autumn chills our bones and we approach winter, honoring the dead and life cycles, stirs the soul”.


A pregnant skeleton on stilts walked amongst the crowd as marigold petals and copal incense filled the air. Drums called into the night as the skeleton performers danced and recited poetry in Spanish: Tierra, Aire, Fuerte, Aqua. Dia De Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles was a beautiful reminder of those who have passed.


The Catholic All Saints Day and the Pagan Samhain also coincides with this time of year making what is now our modern Halloween. As an adult, attending Halloween parties in LA, scantly dressed women adorn few original costumes.. This frivolity of human nature, however interpreted; as personifying the shadow side, the lost childhood, or just a burning, there’s a magic to the spice of fall, the damp rain clouds breaking through our last Indian Summer. As a teacher in Los Angeles, I looked forward to celebrating Dia De Los Muertos with the children, many whom were of Mexican heritage. We made paper cut outs for hanging and Catrina dolls adorned with festive flowers and clothing.

My friend and I walked down to the bazaar on Olvera Street, shops and booths filled with crosses, candles, incense, costumes and Aztec regalia. A mariachi band with Aztec dancers filled the corridor. Men and women ceremoniously burned copal incense, wrapping each other in the purify smoke. We were instructed not to take photographs of this ritual.

Transported, we sat down outside at the local Mexican restaurant to eat and take in the festivities. The parade began minutes later with dozens of Aztec dancers, musicians, and skeletons of all ages. The music faded up the street, we ate authentic Mexican and reflected on our own friends and family that have passed.


Dia De Los Muertos has always represented something very personal and spiritual to all who celebrate. As the autumn chills our bones and we approach winter, honoring the dead and life cycles, stirs the soul.

Perhaps take inspiration from this sacred holiday and create an alter in your own home, remembering your ancestry, honoring the ones who’ve paved the path for your own life.



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