Make Plans To Celebrate Día De Los Muertos

Hand holding incense stick over "ofrenda" for the Day of the Dead in Puebla, Pue., MexicoWhen October rolls around, it’s easy to think of Halloween, skeletons, candy, and other fun treats. Although, there is another spectacular celebration that comes each year! Día de los Muertos and Before I Die ABQ Festival is a time to celebrate deceased loved ones starting on October 31st and lasting two days.  In Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico a new tradition has been added called the Before I Die ABQ Festival. This celebration goes from October 30th until November 4th incorporating Mexican and Latin American cultural traditions, including Day of the Dead.  

Dia de los Muertos Traditions

During the Before I Die ABQ Festival, Día de los Muertos and Halloween are celebrated with a party at Sunset Memorial Park on the 31st. Coco is a popular animated Pixar film that introduced Americans to the Day of the Dead celebrations.  Common traditions include offerings (ofrendas) which are photos of the departed, their favorite food or drink, a candle, and any other meaningful items. Sugar skulls (calaveras) are another common sight. Marigolds flowers and petals are used at cemeteries and in home offerings to help guide the spirits of the dead. Bread of the Dead (pan de muertos) is a sweet bread made into the shape of bones or skulls as well. Lastly, many people hang colorful cutout tissue paper designs for decoration.  

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Before I Die ABQ Festival

Although Before I Die ABQ Festival is new it has attracted many participants. The festival is sponsored by and French Funerals & Cremations, the oldest family-owned funeral service company in Albuquerque. Fathers Building Futures (FBF) is a charitable partner that provides resources to enable these families with a sustainable future. A portion of Before I Die ABQ sponsorship fees go to FBF. Fathers Building Futures also have a woodworking shop where they create biodegradable and kosher caskets.  

Gail Rubin is the festival coordinator as well as a pioneering death educator, speaker and author. For more information you can contact Gail at (505)-265-7215 or about events and sponsorship opportunities, or visit 

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