Scottsdale dia de Los Muertos at the Old Adobe Mission
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Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of family & community...


History of a tradition...

Dia de Los Muertos Origins

Dia de Los Muertos, which coincides with All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world.  The celebration centers with remembering friends and family members who have passed away. The dead come to life through the memories of the living. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share remembrance with their loved ones. Events typically take place from October 31st through November 2nd. Most believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31st, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2nd, the spirits of adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. Homes, cemeteries, and public spaces await the annual visit of the dearly departed. Traditions connected with the holiday include visiting graves with gifts and possessions, building private and public altars honoring the deceased with items such as marigolds, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods of the departed.


Life & Death


Dia de los Muertos, a deep and ancient tradition...

Mesoamerican Origins

The origins of Dia De los Muertos can be traced back 2500 – 3000 years to the Aztec Festival dedicated to the goddess known as Mictecacihuatl “The Lady of the Dead,” which fell on the 9th month of the Aztec calendar during the corn harvest.  Mesoamerican civilizations viewed death as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.

There were two ceremonies valued over and above all rituals of death throughout the 18 months of the Aztec calendar year.  The 1st fell in the ninth month Mic-cailhuitontli that meant, “small feast of the dead,” the second took place during the following month, Hueymiccaihuitl, meaning the “great feast of the dead”.



Join us for the presentation of Dia de Los Muertos inspired grand sculpture art installations in downtown Scottsdale


GRAND SKULLS (Art Installation)

Mesoamerican inspired sculptured skulls will be on display and pay homage to our dearly departed. The most familiar symbol of Dia de Los Muertos are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday. Pre-Columbian civilizations excelled in stone sculptures and created striking carvings of their gods. The skull symbolized death and rebirth. Eight individually sculpted skulls will be on display in honor of the ancient celebratory observances related to Dia de Los Muertos. Each sculptured skull will showcase the work of a featured artists interpretation and tribute to this ancient observance.



Till Death do us Part – A wedding scene tribute installation celebrating the father of Mexico’s modern Dia de Los Muertos celebrations José Guadalupe Posada (Art Installation)

This classic wedding chapel romantic skeleton folk-art scene is commonly presented in decorative Mexican glass boxes.  Jose Guadalupe Posada utilized Dia de Los Muertos imagery in this format because it symbolized eternal love and his ongoing fascination with the elegant skull known as the Catrina. This installation celebrates and reminds us that all loving relationships, much like the recyclable material utilized in its design, will last a lifetime and the spirits of the dead are always with us.

The bride and groom and all decorative elements are designed with a recycling conscious and artistically minded approach.  All materials used in this installation are from re-purposed plastics.

Inspiration for this installation was derived from Posadas illustrations,  “El gran panteón amoroso” (The big cemetery of lovers), “La calavera de Cupido” (Calavera of Cupid, which relates to theme of love) and “La calavera catrina” (The calavera of the fashionable lady).


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Quetzalcóatl Altar Temple (Art Installation)

Quetzalcóatl is the name of an important Mesoamerican deity whose origins can be traced back to the city of Teotihuacán. Quetzalcóatl, god of air and wisdom appears most often as the “plumed serpent.’” Quetzalcóatl who was linked to dawn and the morning star Venus symbolized death and resurrection. As the god of learning, writing and of books Quetzalcóatl the patron of all Aztec priests was considered the originator of activities on earth, creating the land calendar divisions.  The feathered serpent temple was dedicated to the concept of time and was decorated with plumed serpents carved in stone with their heads emerging out of the petals of a flower.  This Temple Altar will be dedicated to Mesoamerican traditions that formed the origins of the celebratory traditions observed throughout Oaxaca and Southern Mexico.



Las Calaveritas (Art Installation)

The most familiar symbols of Dia de los Muertos are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, and as sculpture art. The skull symbolized death and rebirth. Sugar skulls date back to the Colonial Period 18th century. Sugar skulls represented a departed soul, had the name written on the forehead and was placed on the home ofrendas or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit.  This two-dimensional art installation will feature ten Scottsdale artist paying tribute to the classic and most recognized Dia de Los Muertos symbol with a creative interpretation of the Sugar Skull.



“The four elements... earth, wind, fire, water are central to our offerings.”

Grandeza Mexicana  |  LORE Media & Arts


The Offerings



Join us for the presentation of Dia de los Muertos Altar Installations in Old Town Scottsdale, at the Old Adobe Mission

Dia De Los Muertos revolves around ofrendas, or offerings, which are created through a visual display of altar-making and grave decorating. The offerings, a main focal point of the celebration, echo the dedication and distinct love that is presented toward the dearly departed. The altar includes the four main elements of nature – Earth, Wind, Water and Fire.



is represented by the crop: The soul is fed by the various earthly aromas. Placing fruit or favorite family dishes on the altar provides nourishment for the beloved souls.



is represented by a moving object: Paper- Mache is commonly utilized to represent the echoes of the wind.

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is represented by a wax candle: Each lit candle represents a loving soul, and an extra one is placed for the forgotten soul.

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is placed in a container for the soul to quench its thirst after the long awaited journey to the altar. Water is also used for the means of purification.



or Cempasuchitl, known as “The flower of the dead” blossoms in the valleys of Mexico during the months of October and November with a bright yellow color and is central to altar decorating. This flower aids the spirits to wander back.

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is an important ceremonial resin long used in Central America and Mexico as a sacred incense by the Aztecs and Mayans. It comes from the torchwood tree family, and it is burned during Dia de los Muertos to honor Pre-Columbian cultures.

Feathered Serpents, Gods of Death & Stars

Feathered Serpents, Gods of Death & Stars

Winged Skull

Winged Skull

Copal Incense

Copal Incense

Sprouting Skull

Sprouting Skull

Afterlife Stars

Afterlife Stars