Día de los Muertos in Detroit

Modified: October 30, 2021 | Story by Samantha Scott | Photos by Bill Bowen, Southwest Detroit Business Association, Mexicantown Bakery

Día de los Muertos is right around the corner and here in Detroit, it’s a highly celebrated holiday in the area. With so much to take in and do, it can be a challenge to figure out what event to start with. After narrowing down the variety of options, here are five ways to celebrate the profound and vibrant tradition of Dia de los Muertos.


Mexicantown Bakery Dia de los Muertos decorations



But first, a little background…


Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities usually take place from October 28 to November 2 each year in Mexico and celebrated in Latin American countries, the US and Canada as well. The annual celebration, is a time for families to gather, honor and remember deceased loved ones. It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit the living relatives in homes, businesses and cemeteries.

Ofrendas are also created as a way to honor loved ones with objects important to those that have passed, such as favorites foods, mementos, pictures and more. In carrying on the tradition, the dead are continued to be honored with fiestas and rituals during the harvest season as the perception of death is the beginning of the cycle of seasons and life.


Speaking of fiestas…


Detroit Institute of ArtsOfrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos
September 25 – November 7, 2021

In celebration of Dia de Muertos, the Detroit Institute of Arts, along with Detroit’s Mexican Consulate, welcomes the community to explore a special exhibition of ofrenda altars.

Objects important to lost loved ones, are collected and incorporated into elaborate displays that include pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sugar skulls, candles, flowers, papel picado (paper cutouts) and other decorations.

Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos will be on view during regular museum hours and are included with general museum admission.



We Are Culture Creators (WACC)Day of the Dead x Noche De Catrina 
Saturday, October 30

Day of the Dead x Noche De Catrina is a gala to be held at the historic Hotel St. Regis Detroit and will showcase the curated body of work that We Are Culture Creators (WACC) produces. This first annual fundraiser supports the continuous community activations, engagements and the development of local talent.

Through their multiple programming efforts, the iconic ‘Culture House’, a young adult entrepreneurship programming, and curating series, WACC facilitates over 125 events yearly reaching thousands within the Detroit metro area and beyond.



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Southwest Detroit Business Association Dia de los Muertos Ofrendas

In lieu of the Day of the Dead Run, this event offers a unique way to spend time exploring Southwest Detroit both in-person and virtually. The Dia de los Muertos Ofrendas is brought to you by the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) who are highlighting all of the locations throughout the area that have an ofrenda in their establishment.



Robert C. Valade ParkDia de los Muertos on the Detroit Riverfront
Saturday, 30th October, 11:00 am

Head towards the river to celebrate Dia de los Muertos on the Detroit Riverfront. This family-friendly event includes children’s storytelling, Tres Leches N’ Snacks Food Truck, a dance performance by Ballet Folklórico Moyocoyani Izel, retail vendors, children’s activities and more, right on the water.

See their ofrenda remembering all those we have lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The public is encouraged to participate by leaving a name or message for a loved one.



Garden Theatre Lucha Detroit
Sunday, October 31

The gritty, glitzy, and glamorous Lucha Detroit is headed to the Garden Theatre in midtown, this October 31. Come see performers from all over put on a very special Día de los Muertos celebration, Lucha Detroit.



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Cover photo courtesy of Elton Monroy Duran

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  2. 2
    Hotel Saint Regis Detroit
    3071 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202
  3. 3
    Southwest Detroit Business Association
    7752 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209
  4. 4
    Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243
  5. 5
    The Garden Theater
    3929 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201