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Posted at 01:16 PM ET, 10/28/2011

Dia de los Muertos celebrations: Where to go, what to see

Preparations are underway for Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday meant to honor loved ones who have died. The official holiday takes place Nov. 1 and 2, but local celebrations have been in place for weeks.
(“Hermosa Pero Mortal” by Michael Brown (Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center) )

In Mexican tradition passed down from the Aztec culture, it’s customary to honor the dead through food offerings, artwork and celebration, and to welcome beloved spirits back from the dead. Here’s where you can learn more about this colorful holiday locally:

Get cultural at the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian Latino Center’s festival offers a 3D experience, themed music and the chance to build your own altars to honor loved ones.

• Celebrate with art: Dia de los Muertos is an event as widely recognized for its unique art as it is for its sentiment. Learn more about it at Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria. “The Art of Remembrance” altar exhibition featuring regional artists runs until Nov. 4. Torpedo is also hosting a Dia de los Muertos costume party from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

(“Altar” by Kathleen Kendall (Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center) )

• Eat well: Dia de los Muertos is also about observing loved ones by offering their spirits food they’ll enjoy. Oyamel has been hosting a Day of the Dead celebration since Oct. 17, complete with a special menu and performances.

Know of more Dia de los Muertos celebrations? Tell us in the comments below.

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