The Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is the most popular holiday in Mexico. Just like Halloween, it is the legacy of a tradition rooted deeply in time, emphasizing the passage of the seasons and our lives. But it also allows us to remember and honor the path paved by our ancestors and the roots that sustain us
This year, the main theme of the Dia de Muertos MTL Festival is Tribute to Our Ancestors. This theme can be found in all events, exhibitions, and activities presented during this 2023 edition, which will take place in several neighborhoods. PAAL aims to bring to a larger number of Montrealers the fantasy, beauty, and thoughtfulness associated with this special day.
These events are FREE for everyone
Photos: Yaen Tijerina
With Our Ancestors
Unprecedented Intercultural Encounters
With Our Ancestors’ is a project for artistic closeness and exchange between the Kanienkehaka culture with dancer Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo and Aztec tradition keepers, with actor and dancer Kiawtletl David Herce. For a week, Barbara and David will exchange methods and practices in the presence of other artists. These meetings offer an opportunity to discover a profound dimension through traditional teachings, which will form the basis for a performance at the NDG – Monkland Cultural House on October 21 at 8 PM
Presentation result Twinning
“MANALLI,” a True Immersive Experience on October 28
The 2023 edition proposes that Montrealers live, as in Mexico, a significant event called « Manalli, » allowing the public to understand the tradition of Mexican families who pay tribute to their deceased. Lasting six hours, this event will offer an exhibition of 10 altars in memory of the dead, musical performances, storytelling, poetry, and dance featuring about fifteen Mexican and Irish artists (in reference to Celtic Samhain, or Dia de Muertos). « Manalli » will take place in the grand hall of Rudolf Steiner School between 12 PM and 6 PM. Craftsmen will also be present. Over 1,500 participants can be accommodated. To avoid overcrowding, we encourage you to reserve a time slot that suits you.
Catrinas Bike Ride
La Catrina is an iconic character. She is made up and wears a hat or flowers, reminding us in a light and humorous way that, regardless of our social status, we are all equal in the face of death. For the festival this year, a Catrina will lead the public on a bike ride around the NDG neighborhood with the event La Catrina Rides in NDG .The public is invited to dress up and make up as Catrina. The meeting is on October 21 at 4 PM at NDG Park, continuing through the neighborhood and ending with a concert in Trenholme Park with Ricardo Soriano.
La Catrina Rides in NDG
Altar to our ancestors
at the Stewart Hall Cultural Centre in Pointe Claire
The Dia de Muertos MTL Festival spills over to the west of Montreal Island this year by presenting the ‘Altars to Our Ancestors’ exhibition at the Stewart Hall Cultural Center in the city of Pointe-Claire, from September 16 to November 5. A real celebration of the Day of the Dead, as it is still found today in Mexico, will be presented in the library. A Dia de Muertos altar will be created with residents of the neighborhood, and those who wish can bring a photo or object of a deceased loved one to be part of the altar. The significance of this Mexican tradition will be explained to the public, who can appreciate all its facets. Cultural mediation activities will also be organized around this exhibition.
Cultural mediation workshops
In partnership with Ville de Pointe-Claire, Stewart Hall Community Centre
Traditional Artistic Workshops
Various workshops will be given to all by Mexican craftsmen, from October 1 to 30. These workshops show the techniques to create a paper-mache skull typical of Dia de Muertos and clay skeletons, the calaquitas. The workshops will be presented in libraries, schools, and cafes in Rosemont, Center-Sud, and NDG. A virtual activity of paper-mache skulls will also take place for everyone’s enjoyment.
Altar visits by local schools and CPE
Collective painting Tunnel Melrose
(Balanced Energy Movement)
Tlayakanke Kiawtletl David Herce, Continua tradition Tetzkatlipoka , in partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Montreal
Day of the Dead school workshops
During the workshops, participants dialogue with one another to discover the similarities in their different traditions for honoring the deceased. This dialogue can be a source of mutual understanding, and in the long term can help preserve peace and harmony in a multi-ethnic society like Montreal.
To find out about the cost and to make a reservation for this workshop, please contact us:
Join the Festival as a volunteer!
Help make our events, especially Manalli, a success. We have various tasks for you: decorating the spaces, welcoming the public, taking part in children’s workshops, and much more. If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill in this form this form
Help us keep the festival free
Your contribution helps pay the Montreal artists who collaborate with us by sharing their talents, and you’ll receive an official donation receipt.
Charity registration number 72939 6697 RR 0001.
Watch the latest editions of the Festival Dia de muertos MTL
We would like to acknowledge that we are currently in an unceded aboriginal territory where we are all immigrants. We would like to thank the Kanienkehaka Nation* among other nations who have been the traditional custodians of the waters and lands of this place since time immemorial. This land is recognized as a gathering place.
As an organization focused on peace, love, friendship and freedom, we believe it is crucial to learn about the past and present consequences of colonialism. We encourage everyone to learn more about the history of these territories and to support indigenous resistance here and throughout Turtle Island.