The success of the Oscar-winning movie ‘Coco’ has educated audiences worldwide about the traditional Día de los Muertos observation that pays tribute to family and friends who have died.
So, it is no surprise that dozens of Day of the Dead-related activities have sprouted throughout a region where Latinos make up one out of every two residents.
Fresno’s annual celebration which dates back more than three decades has been joined by similar efforts in Modesto, Stockton, Visalia and Hanford.
Remember, Day of the Dead – traditionally observed Nov. 1 for children as Día de los Inocentes or as Día de los Angelitos, and Nov. 2 for adults as Día de los Difuntos – has nothing to do with Halloween.
On those days, family members and friends of the deceased show up at cemeteries to clean gravesides, leave marigolds, food and other items cherished by the deceased. Private altars are also set up in homes.
Their efforts are to get the souls to drop by for a visit.
Here are Day of the Dead activities scheduled throughout the San Joaquín Valley.
▪ Modesto: The American GI Forum and Día de los Muertos Committee presents its fourth annual celebration from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 19) in the Tenth Street plaza and surrounding streets. Mariachi Las Abejeñas from Sacramento will kick off the festivities at 11 a.m., and ‘Coco’ will be shown for free at the State Theatre at noon.
Additional entertainment includes a traditional Aztec blessing by Ballet Folklórico Anahuac, the David Pérez Band, Modesto Talento winner Liliana Hernández, and Spanish rock group Jenetez.
A second stage will feature Ballet Folklórico Los Falcones, Ballet Folklórico Tepeyac, Ballet Folklórico Mestizaje, Melynda Rodríguez, DJ Mendy, and local lip sync talent Azula Rose.
There will be a Catrina pageant.
Details: Rebecca Harrington at (209) 585-6590.
▪ Stockton: The Mexican Heritage Center will host the Día de los Muertos Street Fiesta from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the corner of Sutter and Market streets. Activities include a Catrina pageant, car show, food, entertainment, art vendors, art exhibit and more.
On Oct. 18, the center will host an altar reception and blessing at 5:30 p.m. Entrance is free.
On Oct. 28, the center will hold a mixed metaphors championship at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.
▪ Visalia: The Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will present its third annual Día de los Muertos celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 1 on Church Street between Main and Center. The celebration will feature folkloric dancing, food, beer and live music by Bazmati. Details: (559) 734-6020.
The Tulare County League of Mexican American Women will hold a Celebration of Life at the Visalia Public Cemetery, with an Aztec blessing, folklórico dancers and more from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 2.
▪ Hanford: The third annual Day of the Dead will be celebrated from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Civic Park. The celebration will include vendors, food, music and more.
▪ Armona: The Kings Cultural Center, 14054 Front St., will host its Día de los Muertos celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 27.
▪ Fresno: Arte Américas and Dulce UpFront will host Luna y La Muerte 2019 starting at 10 a.m. in the Cultural Arts District. The event will feature a reading by Fresno poet laureate Marisol Baca and others at 6 p.m. on Nov. 1.
On Nov. 2, the same groups will host another celebration at 9 p.m.
Sonia Santana will pay homage to Selena in a Día de los Muertos event at 9 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Full Circle Brewing. Admission is $12.
On Oct. 26, Coexist Festival California will host Día de los Muertos at the Meux House from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
▪ Merced: The Merced Arts Center, 645 W. Main St., will host a Día de los Muertos reception and procession from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The procession will start at sunset. There will be live music, face painting and refreshments. Details: (209) 388-1090.
▪ Fowler: On Oct. 19, Los Niños de Aztlán will present its 9th annual Día de los Muertos show at 7 p.m. The event will be at 1115 E. Tulare St.