Día de Los Muertos in Sacramento County

Día de Los Muertos in Sacramento County

From Rancho Cordova to Elk Grove, there are many ways for you and your family to celebrate Día de Los Muertos!

What is Día de Los Muertos?

Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a cultural holiday observed on November 1st and 2nd. It originated and is predominantly observed in Mexico and many Latinx communities—specifically Central Americans. Día de Los Muertos celebrates life and death by reuniting family members who are alive and those that have passed.


What makes Día de Los Muertos different than Halloween?

While Halloween’s origins are from the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, Día de Los Muertos is a two-day holiday starting at midnight on November 1st. November 1st – known as Día de Los Angelitos—is when the spirits of deceased children reunite with their families at the altar created for them. The ceremonies shift to remember the lives of the departed adults at midnight the next day: Día de Los Difuntos. The grand finale is noon until the next day: Día de Los Muertos (Spirits of all the dead), where the public celebrates together with masks and parades. You can also read this guide for more details on Día de Los Muertos.


Here are some ways you can celebrate Día de los Muertos:

1. Día de Los Muertos at Sacramento Children's Museum

The Sacramento Children’s Museum is hosting a 5-day celebration of Día de Los Muertos! From October 27th till November 2nd, you and your family can help decorate the community-driven altar built outside the Museum. On the last day of their event, you can make a sugar skull!

2. Día de Los Muertos Exhibition at the California Museum

Visit the California Museum for the final days of their exclusive exhibit: “Día de Los Muertos 2021: Espíritus Creativos de California” (“Day of the Dead 2021: Creative Spirits of California”). While admiring original artwork of Californian artists such as Roberta Alvarado, Francisco Franco, and John Hancock, you will be able to celebrate the Mexican cultural tradition by remembering your loved one(s) at the exhibition’s Community Altar.

Get your tickets here!

3. El Panteón de Sacramento

El Panteón de Sacramento is the Latino Center of Art and Culture’s free annual event where you can experience the beauty of this cultural holiday. Don’t miss out on Sacramento’s biggest Día de Los Muertos celebration! Enjoy the food, drinks, local art & crafts from vendors—let’s not forget about the live music

4. Festival of the Souls

Meet us halfway in Elk Grove for the Festival of the Souls hosted by Mystical Celtic Heart! This festival features all the cultural festivals for you to remember and honor your dearly departed loved ones. Festival of the Souls is another free event for the community to come together with food, entertainment, music, activities, and more!

5. Make an altar at home

Making your altar or ofrenda (offering) is a fun way for you and your family to bond and incorporate another cultural tradition with your own. The essential items you will need are photos of loved ones and their favorite things, calaveras (skulls), food, flowers, and papel picado, colorful tissue paper with cut-out shapes. You can buy most of these items on Amazon or your local store!


You will typically see calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) where the smaller skulls represent children, and the larger skulls are typically for adults. Traditionally, you and your family would place cempasuchitl/marigolds on your altar to guide spirits back to their altar. If you want to shop local for marigolds, call Morningside Florist in Rancho Cordova for a special order.



For more inspiration, read this article on the different items you can place on your altar!