Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, has been celebrated annually across the world for centuries, merging pre-Hispanic customs with Catholic rituals introduced by the Spanish. The celebration exemplifies the synthesis of cultures that define present-day Latin-American culture and, in part, reflects the history of Santa Barbara. Families celebrate Dίa de los Muertos as a time when the spirits of their deceased loved ones return to commune with the living. Decorating cemeteries and assembling ofrendas (which translates to “offerings”) of favorite foods and items that the dead enjoyed in life, families honor relatives and their connection to the past on this special holiday.
Every year, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) invites families to discover the holiday’s fascinating history by presenting a free craft fair and exhibition. On October 29 from noon to 3 p.m., join SBTHP at Casa de La Guerra (15 E. de la Guerra St.) and decorate sugar skulls, get your face painted, and create skeleton masks, tin artwork, block prints and more while enjoying complimentary traditional food, such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and Mexican hot chocolate!
SBTHP has worked to protect, preserve, restore, reconstruct, and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County for over 50 years. Founded in 1963 by Dr. Pearl Chase and other concerned community leaders, SBTHP operates El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park—Santa Barbara’s 18th century birthplace—under a unique agreement with California State Parks.
SBTHP’s efforts continue this Dia de los Muertos! Feel free to dress up and bring your friends and family to this free exhibit and craft fair happening this Sunday!