Annual Day of the Dead Festival at the Hollywood Cemetery

Thousands of people from all backgrounds gather to celebrate the dead.

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 to honor children and adults, respectively, who have passed away.

The holiday, according to an article by, dates back 3,000 years when the Spaniards came to Mexico and mixed their catholic beliefs with that of indigenous customs to form a unique holiday.

Though traditionally celebrated in Mexico and surrounding areas, Day of the Dead is also celebrated in the United States in various ways, including with festivals such as Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever cemetery.

According to their website, the festival was created by two individuals, Tyler Cassity and Deisy Marquez, and began as a way to provide “[people] an authentic venue, in which this ancient tradition could be genuinely observed, celebrated and preserved,” and would “synthesize creativity for the means of remembering the departed spirits of our lives.”

Every year, the event coordinators plan a new theme for the upcoming function.

“When I attended last year, the theme was Coatlicue, mother of gods. It was the first time I had been to any of these types of festivities so the intricate and ornate decorations displayed on every altar and corner of the cemetery was especially memorable for me,” junior Xandra Fine said.

This year, the theme was the Monarch Butterfly, an insect native to Michoacán. The butterfly is meant to illustrate the souls that make their yearly visit to their living relatives. Likewise, the event’s organizers chose to “embrace the Monarch butterfly as a symbol of Dreamers and Immigrants whose personal journeys echo the annual migrations the butterflies make between Mexico and the U.S.”

The event, held on Saturday, Nov. 2 from noon to midnight, counted on many local artists, indigenous dance groups and vendors to “call upon the living to engage and summon the spirits of our lives who shaped, inspired and left their prints engraved in our souls.”

With a total of 40,000 attendees, the festival provided “[the] community with a genuine setting to learn the importance and significance of this celebration,” and “welcomed … guests and interactive participants to this annual and growing community-based festivity.”