Dia de los Muertos

Jack Morgan

You may think the ‘Day of the Dead’ as a celebration around Halloween, but at the Texas A&M Cultural  Arts Center in San Antonio, an exhibit is drawing new attention. I took a tour with its creator. Deborah A. Cortez helps run her family’s Mi Tierra restaurant at Market Square in San Antonio, but she’s also an artist who created this ‘Day of the Dead’ exhibit.

“The exhibit is a story of The Children of the Revolución, which was originally put together by Lionel and Kathy Sosa.”


Texas Lutheran University is pulling out all stops to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos in Seguin. There’s a lot going on; I spoke to TLU Professor Shannon Ivey.

“ArteFest is a two day celebration of Dia De Los Muertos through Art, Film, Theater, Dance and Music.”

Regarding the music, they went for a heavy hitter.

“We have the good fortune of having Flaco Jimenez, who is a Grammy Award-winning artist, for two days.”

I noted that when the Rolling Stones need squeezebox, they go to Flaco.

SAY Sí's Media Arts Studio

SAY Si has a three-night event that they call the Muertitos Fest. Say Si's Stephen Guzman says their take on the holiday is geared towards the young people who come there.

“Every night we’re going to have a different set of entertainment. Thursday night is going to be our showcase night and we’re going to have some amazing entertainment. We’re going to have the Maya Guiaro World Music Project, which is a trio of musicians who have pooled their inspirations from cultures all around the world.”

San Antonio Poet Laureate, Laurie Ann Guerrero, will also perform.

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2012.

Sugar skulls, tamales and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on ofrendas, or altars, built this time of year to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. These altars in homes and around tombstones are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition on Nov. 1 and 2originating in central Mexico.

Fred Gonzales (courtesy of La Villita)

I ask Jesus de la Torre, a local artist and teacher, and the co-founder of Colectivo Cultural, an organization set up to preserve and celebrate Mexican culture, to explain Dia de los Muertos to those not raised celebrating it.

“It’s confused with Halloween. Halloween is about ghouls and goblins. Dia de los Muertos is about celebrating life, not death. Yes, we’re honoring people who have passed away. But we’re remembering the wonderful things that they’ve done.”

It’s going to be a really big deal.