After being forced to cancel last year's event due to the COVID pandemic, the City of Henderson's Dia de los Muertos event is coming back.

Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead" is a Mexican tradition that dates back some 3,000 years. While it falls at the same time as Halloween each year, it centers around death, and its most recognizable symbols are brightly decorated skulls. It's not a tradition designed to be spooky or scary. It's the exact opposite, actually.

Where Halloween focuses on spirits coming back to terrorize the living, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of those who have passed away. In Mexico, the two-day event typically features bright colors, food, music, dancing, parades, and more.

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More Than a Party

According to this Day of the Dead website, the belief is that "the passageway between the real world and the spirit world is open so our deceased loved ones can come back to visit us" over the course of the celebration. Families will prepare weeks in advance "by creating altars, decorating burial sites, and cooking specific Day of the Dead food." For example, the favorite meal of the deceased.

The celebration has become increasingly popular here in the states over the years as the Hispanic population has grown, bringing with them cultural traditions that help them remain connected to their heritage. One area of the country that has seen a sizable growth of the Hispanic community is right here in the Tri-State. Both Henderson County as well as other surrounding Kentucky counties have experienced an increase in Hispanic residents thanks to jobs in the construction industry and the Tyson Foods plant in Webster County.

What to Expect

The event will take place at Henderson's Central Park at the corner of South Main and Washington Streets in downtown Henderson on Saturday, October 30th from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and will feature the following:

  • Face Painting
  • Crafts
  • Mariachi Band
  • Traditional Dancers
  • A Parade for the Kiddos
  • Candlelight procession honoring loved ones who have passed on
  • Food Trucks
  • Beer Garden

Admission is free and is open to all ages (with the exception of the beer garden). I went to the first festival back in 2019 and had a great time. The whole park was decorated with balloons, sugar skulls, and replica gravesites to mimic the feel of how the day is celebrated in Mexico. Plus, there was delicious Mexican food available from ChimiTruck and Tacoholics which I'm always down for.

SEE: Dia de Los Muertos Festival in Henderson

Here are a few pictures from the inaugural Dia de Los Muertos Festival in 2019 to give you an idea of what to expect when it makes its return to Henderson's Central Park on Saturday, October 30th.

For more info on this particular event, visit Día de los Muertos in Henderson, Kentucky Facebook page.

[Sources: dayofthedead.holiday / NBC News / The Gleaner / Día de los Muertos in Henderson, Kentucky Facebook]