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Every year on the first Saturday in November, Murphys celebrates the lives of those who have passed on but are with us in heart and spirit on this day.

Participating businesses and vendors will be offering authentic cultural art, food, sugar skulls, face painting, and live music, as well as displaying ofrendas (altars) celebrating the lives of those who have passed on but are with us in heart and spirit on the Day of the Dead.

Join us for the celebration in the Park from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm featuring face painters, folklorico dancers, rondalla musicians, and artisan vendors.  Traditional food and drinks will be for sale in the Park until 4:00 pm or whenever they sell out. Purchases of food, wine, and beer will benefit the Murphys Community Club who are responsible for maintaining and improving our lovely park along the creek.

The Catrina and Catrin Dress Contest will begin at 4:30 pm in the Community Park followed by a final blessing of the messages to the dead. Those wishing to compete in the Catrina Contest must be signed up by 3 pm.  Stop by our booth in the Park to sign up. There will be competitions for men, women, and children. The final blessing of the messages to the dead will begin at 5:30 pm. Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muertos will be available for purchase during & after or until it’s sold out.

The Folklorico Dancers will be offering dancing lessons in the Native Sons Hall beginning at 2:30 pm.  Sign up at our booth in the Park or just come by the Hall at 2:30pm.

In the event of rain, all entertainment and food sales will be in the Native Sons Hall at 389 Main Street in Historic Downtown Murphys.

Don’t forget to stop by the Murphys Historic Schoolhouse on Jones for more altars and activities including the characters from Coco.

This ancient holiday traces its roots back to the indigenous cultures of Mexico, Latin America, and Europe but has become inextricably intertwined with the Catholic observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day over time. Although this celebration is associated with the dead, it is traditionally a period full of life, happiness, color, food, family, and fun. In Mexico, outdoor markets display and sell symbolic items like special breads, pottery, baskets, candles, paper puppets, candy skulls, and flowers. Skeletons are also an important symbol of this day and are displayed hugging, dancing and laughing in shop windows and on street corners.

Traditional activities are believed to “welcome the souls of the dead.”  The souls are said to return each year to enjoy the pleasures of the life that they once had.  These souls are thought to return as spirits from another world to be with their loved ones for a few brief hours. A widely held belief is that the souls of children (angelitos) return first so food and gifts appealing to children are set out for them. The adult dead are said to return a day or two later and their favorite items, as well as elaborate food and drink, are set out for them as well. It is believed that candlelight, as well as the scent of marigolds and copal incense, will help the ghosts find their way back home.

The public is welcome to participate in the remembrance of loved ones by contributing items to the Community Altar in the Park or specific altars. Please contact the individual business owner first though to make sure there is an appropriate space for your item.  Make sure to check out our program online to see a list of all the Ofrendas and activities or pick up a printed program at our booth in the Park.  Programs will also be available at The Spice Tin, Marisolio Tasting Room, Tanner Vineyards Tasting Room, Murphys Pourhouse and the Bodega del Sur Tasting Room in the days before the event.

Like the event on our Facebook page where you can find additional information on this year’s celebration and download the event program and map. Or visit us at visitmurphys.com/ for additional information.

And, last but not least, thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteers who make this event possible each year.

Celebrate the Day of the Dead with us in the Land of the Skulls!

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