Old traditions continue in Old Town


Abby Gentry/The USD Vista Participants of the festival displayed ‘lady of the dead’.

Abby Gentry/The USD Vista
Participants of the festival displayed ‘lady of the dead’.

Within the Mexican culture, Dia de los Muertos, also referred to as the day of the dead, is a highly anticipated time of year. This is a time to celebrate, honor, and remember the lives of lost loved ones. With such a prevalent Mexican culture within the San Diego community, the large amount of people who wish to celebrate this holiday should come as no surprise.

Dia de los Muertos is a three day weekend celebration where hundreds of people, including many Toreros, venture to Old Town to join the festivities.

During the daytime on Oct. 30-31, the streets were filled with families exploring the variety of vendors and what they had to offer.  One of the more popular activities, especially amongst children, was face painting.

Many festival goers would have their faces painted to replicate the sugar skulls from the dia de los muertos tradition.  There were also many vendors selling flowers for people to place beside the graves of loved ones.  Another way for people to honor the death of loved ones was by writing their name on a popsicle stick and placing it in a display box of flowers.

Sophomore Tamar Tellado shared in the cultural experience at Old Town with fellow Toreros.

“The festival was very joyous and vibrant,” Tellado said. “Despite it being labeled ‘day of the dead’ the celebration of souls was so colorful. The cultural outfits were awesome because it epitomized the dedication and knowledge the participants have for their culture.  There were lots of families there who were celebrating their deceased loved ones. The intricate face paintings resembled a skeleton but the sparkles and floral designs added a colorful vibe.”

On Monday, Nov. 2, the final evening of the celebration, the streets began to fill just after sunset.

Outside of The Church of the Immaculate Conception,  many men, women, and children were dressed in costume with their faces painted to resemble the ‘lady of the dead.’

After posing for photos  and mingling with the crowd, those who dressed up for the occasion led the parade and marched down the street in Old Town. Eventually the parade ended up in the Old Town cemetery where festival goers took a moment to celebrate and honor the lives of lost loved ones.

There was a mass service in the Church of the Immaculate Conception to continue the celebration of life through prayer and religious practice.