Day of the Dead Activities: Festival de Vivos y Muertos

In the vibrant streets of San Miguel de Allende, local children and their families are getting into the spirit of Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Adding to this buzz is the anticipation of the much-loved Festival de Vivos y Muertos, which this year takes place on October 29th at the iconic Centro Cultural El Nigromante (Bellas Artes). More than just a moment of remembrance, this unique and celebrated free event for children, is a day of joy, creativity, and community building.

A Memorable Family Experience

I wanted to share this incredible festival with you all, as it’s had a big impact on us as a family. It’s by far one of our favorite San Miguel de Allende events leading up to Day of the Dead, and I think everyone should know about it!

We’ve taken our sons to the festival for the past three years, and they absolutely love it. I think their enthusiasm is only matched by my husband’s! Every year, he’s right there with them, painting mini clay skulls to decorate our family’s ofrenda. It’s become our little family tradition, and we love how we always run into familiar faces when we’re there.

When I talk with my friends about the upcoming festival, I can really feel their excitement. It doesn’t matter if it’s their kid’s first time or even their fifth; they’re all buzzing about it. Everyone has their own sweet memory or story from past years. It’s just that kind of event that brings people together and builds community ties, especially at this time of year.

 

Us at the festival last year with some of our crafts

So, let’s have a look at how it all started and discover what this year’s Festival de Vivos y Muertos has to offer everyone.

The Beginnings of the Festival de Vivos y Muertos

Eight years ago, a spark ignited during a conversation between co-founders Tina and Fernando. This spark soon transformed into an opportunity to offer children and families in San Miguel de Allende something that was non-commercial, inclusive, fun, and deeply meaningful. This was the start of the Festival de Vivos y Muertos.

 

Over the years, the festival has flourished, expanding its content and activities. More importantly, it has garnered a reputation for welcoming and caring for the community. It’s impossible to understate how the local community, with its children and families, is brimming with talent, curiosity, and joy. For everyone involved in this event, any effort to enhance their experience in a positive way is a true privilege.

Festival Highlights and Activities

Here is a sneak peek of what’s in store for everyone:

  • Crafting Stations: From Day of the Dead crafts such as painting clay skulls to paper mache sculptures to bracelets, puppets, and masks, children hop from one station to another, making, creating, and learning throughout the day.

 

  • Puppet Show: Introduced this year, this activity will captivate both young and older audiences alike. “Huesos, Calacas y Calaveras” will be performed by Titeres Corazon de Luna
One of the many crafting stations
The popular talent show
  • Talent Show: A popular and fun segment where children up to 18 showcase their diverse talents. They’re divided into two groups, younger and older, with the top performers from each age bracket receiving cash prizes.

 

  • Face Painting: Always a big hit among the children, turning their faces into beautiful Day of the Dead masterpieces!

All of the arts, crafts, and other creative activities run throughout the day. Most of the items created by the children are for their ofrendas at home or to take to the cemetery to remember loved ones.

A Day for the Community, By the Community

At the heart of this meaningful event is a team of dedicated and talented volunteers who spend months preparing. Their goal is to ensure every participant enjoys a day filled with fun, warmth, and learning. 


Though the festival is deeply rooted in Day of the Dead traditions of Mexico, its primary purpose is to serve as a prelude to the actual Day of the Dead celebrations. That being said, an impressive ofrenda (an altar or shrine to honor and remember the deceased) is decorated and constructed, incorporating elements related to Día de los Muertos.

All of the incredible volunteers

Supporting Festival de Vivos y Muertos

The beautiful 'ofrenda'

While the festival has seen informal partnerships, like donations of art supplies and support from local entities like Centro Cultural El Nigromante and the San Miguel City government, the organizers maintain a strict no-commercial essence, emphasizing that it’s not about the money, as that would detract from the essence of the event.

Looking to the future, the organizers hope to grow the festival and involve more Mexican nationals in their volunteer pool. They’ve also introduced free workshops during August, including crafting, drawing, and ukulele classes, which have become popular and continue to evolve each year.

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Join the Celebration

For those inspired by this incredible event in San Miguel de Allende, new faces are always welcome. In fact, this year’s festival is looking for volunteer face painters.

But it’s not all about volunteering. The main goal of the Festival de Vivos y Muertos is to provide something for all the kids and families in San Miguel de Allende who don’t have the means to participate in things that cost money. So, please help by spreading the word and ensuring that every child gets a chance to attend.

Now that you know more about this fantastic event, we hope to see you and your families there!

If you are interested in learning more about What to Expect when Living in San Miguel de Allende click here. 

For more information, please visit the Festival de Vivos y Muertos official Facebook page here.