Celebrates Day of the Dead Fiesta! Sunday, October 30, from 4 to 6pm

Visitors leave messages to their loved ones who have passed away at the Day of the Dead 2015 memory altar -- or ofrenda -- in Capitol Square.

Visitors leave messages to their loved ones who have passed away at the Day of the Dead 2015 memory altar — or ofrenda — in Capitol Square.

Capitol Square, East Arlington’s vibrant business district, invites the community to enjoy Mexican food, live music and festive activities for all ages during the 6th annual Day of the Dead Fiesta, on Sunday, October 30, from 4 to 6pm, along Mass Ave.

Day of the Dead — or Dia de los Muertos — is a public holiday in Mexico, and is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures, to honor ancestors and people in our lives who have passed away. Capitol Square shares in the tradition with a fiesta featuring Mexican food from Arlington’s favorite restaurants, live Mariachi music and an artistic celebration of the Mexican tradition.

“As Day of the Dead becomes more and more popular, it’s important to differentiate it from Halloween,” says Diane Buxton, member of the Capitol Square Business Association and owner of Luv and Other Gifts. “And when folks paint their faces with the calavera, or colorful sugar skull design, it’s not meant to be a spooky Halloween mask, but rather a celebration of the eternal cycle of life.”

To help guests get in the spirit, Artbeat will provide two self-serve face painting stations on both sides of Mass Ave, where people can paint their own faces or help a friend. Mexican craft making will also be in full swing at Artbeat (212A Mass Ave), where all ages can make paper flowers and decorate paper sugar skull masks, while enjoying festive cookies provided by Quebrada Baking Company.

Guests are also encouraged to learn about the memory alter — or ofrenda — tradition, a special way to honor the dead, by leaving a heartfelt memory at an altar decorated with photos of the departed, saints, food and flowers. Visitors can pick up a special flower with memory tag at Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens (218 Mass Ave), and leave it on the community memory altar — decorated by Mexican-American artist D. Orxata — located at Luv and Other Gifts (189 Mass Ave).

Tastes of Mexico will be provided by Arlington’s popular Acitron Cocina Mexicana and La Posada Restaurante. The spirits will dance to Mexican folk music as Mariachi musicians rove throughout the Square.

At 13FOREST Gallery (167A Mass Ave) guests will find a festive reception with a Día de los Muertos installation by Boston artist Dimel Rivas. This installation will be on view alongside their current exhibition, TENFOLD, which celebrates their tenth anniversary and features work by 10 artists who collectively represent the gallery’s past, present and future.

A Taza Mexican-chocolate tasting will be held at Maxima Gift Center (212 Mass Ave). Participating businesses throughout the Square will offer guests authentic sugar skull candies to sample, as well as traditional Mexican sweetbread — pan de muerto.

Did you know Day of the Dead is one of five annual celebrations brought to East Arlington by the Capitol Square Business Association?

Upcoming events include:
First Lights, Dec. 3, 2016 — Holiday shopping and entertainment.
Romancing the Square, Feb. 11, 2017 — Spreading the love with music, poetry and arts.
Spring in the Square, April, TBD — A garden party to celebrate the arrival of Spring.
Feast of the East, June, 17, 2017 — Street festival with food, fun, and community spirit.