PCM is excited to present its first celebration of Día de los Muertos on Thursday, November 2, with its intergenerational ensemble Mariachi Pasadena! taking center stage.

In addition to live music, guests will enjoy food from El Portal (a beloved neighborhood institution for over 30 years!), face painting, and ofrendas where guests are invited to share gifts and messages for their loved ones.

Read more below about the important role of Mariachi in celebrating Día de los Muertos and how it connects our community to Mexican traditions, as well as the spirits of our departed loved ones.


Mexican folklorico dancers perform in colorful costumes
Mariachi ensemble performs on stage

The Origins of Día de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd each year. Its roots can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of Mexico, particularly the Aztecs, who believed in the cyclical nature of life and death and that death was not the end, but a part of a continuous journey. When the Spanish colonizers invaded Mexico, they syncretized these indigenous beliefs with Catholicism, resulting in the modern-day Día de los Muertos.

The Significance of Mariachi
The significance of Mariachi in Día de los Muertos goes beyond music; it represents a cultural bridge that connects us to the past and honors the spirits of our ancestors. It allows us to express our emotions, fosters community, and strengthens our sense of identity.

Invoking the Spirits | In Mexican culture, it is believed that the spirits of the deceased return to the world of the living during Día de los Muertos. Mariachi music, with its joyful yet melancholic songs, attracts and welcomes these spirits. It sets the stage for their arrival to ensure they are surrounded by love and music.

A Musical Connection to the Past | Mariachi music has been an integral part of Mexican culture for centuries, providing a musical connection to our ancestors and their stories. Through music, we serenade our forebears and pay homage to their legacy.

Emotional Expression | Music can serve as a medium to express the complex emotions associated with mourning and remembrance. In celebrating Día de los Muertos, Mariachi music provides a cathartic release for grief and a channel for our love and reverence for the departed.

Fostering Community and Connection | As a fundamental aspect of the human experience, music offers a meaningful way to bring diverse groups of people together. This shared experience of celebrating Día de los Muertos not only honors the departed, but also strengthens the bonds among the living.

At PCM, we are reminded of the enduring power of music to unite, heal, and remember. So, as we gather to celebrate Día de los Muertos, let the music of Mariachi be a testament to the enduring love and connection we share with our loved ones near and far.


If you would like to make a donation to A Día de los Muertos Celebration or Mariachi Pasadena!, you may do so online or by mailing a check to:

Pasadena Conservatory of Music
100 North Hill Avenue
Pasadena, California 91106