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Colorful and lively celebrations for Día de los Muertos observance in St. Louis

Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Public Radio
Elisa Bender (left) and Lindsay Newton (right) talk about Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in St. Louis. "

Traditional dresses and music, symbolic foods and colorful decorations are all part of a celebration of life — and death.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a local observance of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday indigenous to Mexico and Central and South American countries. The holiday began October 31 and ends on November 2.

Elisa Bender, board member of the Hispanic Festival, Inc., said Día de Los Muertos is a celebration of life.

“It’s to remember those who have passed, but it’s to celebrate their life — not for mourning,” Bender said.

The Hispanic Festival, Inc. partnered with the Missouri History Museum to host Día de Los Muertos celebrations in St. Louis on Nov. 4 and 5. This is the fourth year the two organizations are working together.

Lindsay Newton, youth and family programs manager at the Missouri History Museum, said “every nook and cranny of the museum is decked out for Day of the Dead.”

There will be decorated altars in the auditoriums to remember loved ones, traditional live dance performances, music throughout the building and a ceremonial procession in Forest Park. The family zones will include face painters and arts and crafts for kids. This year, the festival will also take place outdoors with piñatas, food sales and different business stands.

Newton said the festival attracted over 6,000 people last year. This year, there will be shuttles in Forest Park to help accommodate transportation to the museum.

While there are costumes involved, the holiday, which falls around the same time as Halloween, is not associated with Halloween. Día de los Muertos serves to reassure the souls of those who have passed away that they are loved and appreciated.

“It’s the one time a year where they come back and everyone remembers and celebrates together,” Bender said.

Listen below for more details on how Día de los Muertos is celebrated:


Related Event:

What: Día de los Muertos Celebration
When: November 4-5, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, 5700 Lindell, St. Louis, MO 63112

More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.