Celebrate Day of the Dead for free around Austin

Julia Mahavier

Día de los Muertos, known often by English speakers as Day of the Dead, serves as a celebration of life and death. 

Traditionally, altars with “ofrendas,” offerings like pan de muerto, photographs and candles, highlight and honor this two-day holiday celebrated worldwide on Nov. 1 and 2. The Daily Texan compiled a list of free Día de los Muertos events taking place in and around Austin to help Longhorns celebrate life, loss and family this year. 

Día de los Muertos Celebration at Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

600 River St.

November 1 & 2, 5-9 P.M.

This marks the 14th year of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center’s annual Dia de los Muertos event. On both Monday and Tuesday, the center will offer endless activities for celebrators. 

On top of live music, dance and food trucks, they plan a live butterfly release for Monday and a lowrider car show for Tuesday. The center will also provide screen printing, sugar skull decorating and an altar open to the public. As the cherry on top, the center will sponsor an artisan mercado with local vendors from Frida Friday ATX and “limpias” or spiritual cleansing rituals. 

Fandango de los Muertos

San Jose Cemetery, 718 Montopolis Drive

November 2, beginning at 6 P.M.

Put on by Latin American theater company ProyectoTEATRO, Fandango de los Muertos celebrates Dia de los Muertos by lighting up the cemetery and inviting the community to partake in the traditions of the holiday. 

After adorning the cemetery with candles, the activities begin, first with a tombstone decoration using marigolds — the traditional Día de los Muertos flower— and then with theatrical and musical performances honoring those buried at the East Austin cemetery. ProyectoTEATRO encourages guests to come dressed in Day of the Dead-inspired creations and to bring a blanket so they can sit on the grounds at this candlelit event. 

Día de los Muertos Procession and Festival 

Centennial Plaza, 301 West Bagdad Ave.

November 6, 12-8 P.M.

Hosted by Hispanic Round Rock art organizations in coordination with the city, this year’s festival marks the eighth year of the annual procession. 

Round Rock hosts a parade Nov. 6 beginning at the local Wells Fargo at 5 p.m. and ending at Centennial Plaza, the location for the rest of the night’s events. The festival showcases activities for all ages — face painting, food, vendors and more. Attendants can dress as their favorite Calaca, a traditional Día de los Muertos “skeleton,” or opt for a Frida Kahlo, Selena or Prince outfit. This event also offers volunteer opportunities and people can even sign up as a food or art vendor.