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What Is The Day of The Dead?

Published: 24.10.2018

Each year we see images of brightly coloured skulls, associated with a Mexican festival.  But what exactly is it? 

Originally a Mexican tradition which is now celebrated throughout South America and in Mexican communities in the United States, The Day of the Dead is actually a three day festival which sees family members making time to visit the cemetery and remember their dead loved ones.  

See below for a good introduction to the festival, it's origins and how it is celebrated today.

Artist Ellie Harrison will be holding a Day of the Dead Family Workshop in Leeds.

  • Date: Friday 2 November
  • Time: 1.30 – 3.30pm
  • Location: Horsforth Library in Horsforth Community Hub, Town St, Horsforth, Leeds  LS18 5BL

It's a free event for children aged 5+, where they can make Mexican-themed crafts to take home or add to the Ofrenda, a brightly coloured display built to remember friends, family and people of significance.

If you would like to bring a copy of a photograph of someone you have loved and lost from a friend or relative to a hero like David Bowie, you are welcome to add it to the Ofrenda.

Booking required, to book your place visit Leeds Library and Information Service Bookings

This workshop is a collaboration between artists in Mexico City at The Faro De Oriente and UK artist Ellie Harrison and The Grief Series, and is in partnership with Leeds Bereavement Forum.

For more information, please contact Horsforth Library on 0113 378 1872 or contact Leeds Bereavement Forum.


A selection of small plastic toys, sugar cakes, paper bunting, rocks, marigold flowers, coloured beads and coloured tiles to decorate an Ofrenda

Decorations and other items to put onto an Ofrenda

What do you think?  We already have a day to remember those in the armed forces who have died during times of conflict - should we also have a national day to remember family members who have died during peace time?  

Do you think celebrating our dead loved ones is a healthy (healthier) way to deal with grief as a family?  Should a memorial day have a religious connection or not?  We'd love to read your thoughts on this.

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