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Las Vegas will celebrate Day of the Dead at the 22nd annual Life In Death Festival. It will be held on November 1 and 2, 2023, at Winchester Dondera Cultural Center.
Many people believe the Day of the Dead is Mexico’s version of Halloween. This is not the case. The theme of Day of the Dead is death but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members and to honor their memories.
In Mexico, revelers put on funky make up and costumes, have parades and parties, sing, dance and make offerings to lost loved ones. Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – is celebrated throughout Latin America but the biggest celebrations are in the country of its origin – Mexico.
This is an ever evolving holiday that traces its roots to the Aztec people. Along the way, elements of Catholicism have made their way into the practices.
People build altars in their homes with ofrendas, offerings to their loved ones’ souls. Families bring out pictures of the deceased and read letters and share anecdotes.
Offerings of tamales, chiles, water, tequila and pan de muerto, a special bread, are lined up with bright yellow and orange flowers.
Incense is lit to draw in the spirits. Clay molded sugar skulls are painted and decorated and the loved ones name is written across the forehead.
Altars include all four elements of life
- Food for earth
- Candles for fire
- Wind in the form of colorful tissue paper streamers
“Calacas” and “calaveras” – skeletons and skulls – are the most familiar symbols of Dia de los Muertos.
In the early 1900s, lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada’s best known work was La Calavera Catrina or Elegant Skull. It features a female skeleton in a fancy dress and hat and lots of make up to make her skin look white. La Calavera Catrina has become the public face of the festive Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
Clark County Parks & Recreation will present a 2 day festival “Life In Death: Day of the Dead.” The festival will explore cultural traditions of the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. Admission to the festival is free.
The festival will have ofrendas built by families and other groups for their loved ones. They will glow with candle light and contain objects loved by the deceased in order to lure them back for a visit. The ofrendas are works of art and are beautiful, detailed and sometimes gigantic. $500 award will be given to the best three ofrendas.
There will be a Calaveras Contest.
- 1st Prize – $150
- 2nd Prize – $125
- 3rd Prize – $100
Performances each day will feature Mexican dance troupes. Traditional Mexican folkloric dance performances will be presented by well known local groups and touring groups. There will also be readings of “calaveras” or “skulls” which are satirical poems commemorating celebrities and politicians who are still alive. People are treating the menace of death with good natured humor and have a chance to poke fun at celebrities.
There will also be an Art Exhibit Contest with prizes.
Movies will be screened in the Winchester Theater for free, including
- Hasta Los Huesos
- El Pescador
- Blippi Celebrates Dia De Los Muertos!
- A Traves de los Parpados
- Piedra de Caballo
Authentic Mexican crafts will be for sale and a variety of food vendors will be at the festival. Free samples of the Special Day of the Dead bread will be given to attendees.
There will be activities for children. Workshops on the Day of the Dead bread making and sugar/clay/skull decorations will be offered.
Las Vegas Accommodations & Flights
If you’d like to visit Las Vegas for the festival, you should consider the following hotels. They are all offering discounted rates which can save you money on your stay.
- The LINQ Hotel + Experience – 35% Discount
- Treasure Island – TI Las Vegas Hotel, Casino, a Radisson Hotel – 31% Discount
- Crockfords Las Vegas, LXR Hotels & Resorts at Resorts World – 30% Discount
- Four Queens Hotel & Casino – 25% Discount
- Hotel Apache – 25% Discount
- The Orleans Hotel & Casino – 25% Discount
- Gold Coast Hotel & Casino – 25% Discount
- Jet Luxury Elite at The Signature – 23% Discount
- Paris Las Vegas Resort & Casino – 20% Discount
- Caesars Palace – 20% Discount
- Harrah’s Hotel & Casino Las Vegas – 20% Discount
- The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort – 20% Discount
- Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino – 20% Discount
- Horseshoe Las Vegas – 20% Discount
- Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – 20% Discount
- OYO Hotel & Casino Las Vegas – 20% Discount
- Serene Vegas Boutique Hotel Las Vegas – 20% Discount
- The Palazzo Prestige Club Lounge – 20% Discount
- Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace – 20% Discount
- Wynn Las Vegas – 15% Discount
- Sonesta Select Las Vegas Summerlin – 15% Discount
- Encore at Wynn Las Vegas – 15% Discount
- Silverton Casino Lodge – 11% Discount
- Longhorn Casino & Hotel – 11% Discount
If you’re going to be flying into Las Vegas, book your airline ticket here and use the promo code “FALL25” to save $25 off your flight.