Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Celebrates Día de los Muertos

By East City Art Editorial Team on October 23, 2018
Courtesy of Museum of the American Indian.
Event: Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a three-day free public program to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with an after-hours event, performances, family activities and Mexico’s premier indigenous music ensemble, Pasatono. The Day of the Dead is a festival celebrated from midnight Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 by people in Mexico, parts of Central and South America and in many Latino communities across the U.S. as a way to honor family and friends that have passed away. This celebration originates from the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica, including the Mexica (Aztec) and Maya.

Featured events:

  • Día de los Muertos After Hours
    Friday, Oct. 26; 6:30 p.m.
    Visitors can celebrate Día de los Muertos after hours. The museum will open its doors for a free late-night event during the three-day festival dedicated to Día de los Muertos. Participants can dance to Mariachi Los Amigos with Mexican folk dance group Bailes de Mi Tierra and enjoy food and drinks available for purchase from the Mitsitam Café and Tico DC, including tacos, tamales, mescal cocktails, desserts and agua fresca. They can help create an interactive mural, learn to make paper marigolds and enjoy exclusive access to the galleries. More information and updates are available at
  • Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead
    Saturday, Oct. 27; 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Sunday, Oct. 28; 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
    The end of October and beginning of November marks the end of the long southward migration of large numbers of monarch butterflies. The butterflies’ arrival in Mexico coincides with the observance of Día de los Muertos. This year the museum celebrates monarch butterflies through the creation of an interactive mural with Joaquin Newman (Yaqui/Mexica), butterfly luminaria and butterfly masks. Butterflies will also appear in a contemporaryofrenda celebrating the marigold paddler, an ancient Maya story interpreted by Evelyn Orantes (Quiche Maya)and traditional ofrendas by Oaxacan-born Lucina Flores (Mexica) and Puebla-born Luz Maria Reyes (Mixtec).Grupo los Tecuanes (Mixtec) shares cultural performances of Danza de los Tecuanes (Dance of the Jaguar) and Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Old Men). Support for this festival is provided by the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
  • Afternoon Concert with Pasatono
    Sunday, Oct. 28; 3 p.m.
    Celebrate Día de los Muertos with Mexico’s premier indigenous music ensemble, Pasatono. Made up of musician-ethnomusicologists, Pasatono is dedicated to celebrating, reinterpreting and sustaining Native Oaxacan and Mixtec musical traditionsThe concert is a collaboration of the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Mexican Cultural Institute, with support from Southwest Airlines.