2023 Dia de los Muertos Theme:  Blooming Resilience  

Over the past three years, we have witnessed the fragility of existence, the ebb and flow of hope, and the strength discovered in the face of adversity and loss.  Like marigolds unfurling their vibrant petals, we have grown through the cracks in the concrete, breaking through barriers and persisting against all odds. As we gather for Dia de los Muertos, we honor not only our personal lineage but also the rich cultural tapestry that binds us together through dark times. 

Join us for this vibrant festival, where we will pay homage to the invincible spirit of our Fruitvale community, and the profound wisdom found in the eternal dance between death’s sorrows, and the enduring beauty of life and rebirth. 

Table of Contents

Article written in the Oakland Tribune on November 2nd, 1997 about the 2nd Annual Fruitvale Dia de los Muertos Festival

The Oakland Día de los Muertos Festival began in 1996 on International Blvd. The original goals of the Festival continue to this day: to document, celebrate, and preserve the traditional celebration of the holiday, and draw new visitors to Fruitvale and support small businesses in the area. This event has taken place rain or shine every year since, and has always been completely free, open to the public, and family-friendly. 

It is believed that on this day, the Day of the Dead, the deceased are given divine consent to visit with their relatives and friends on earth. The annual reunion takes place on November 1st and 2nd, merging the Catholic holy days of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day with the Aztec Quecholli, the fourteenth month of the Aztec solar calendar that honored warriors. 

Throughout its history, the Festival has used its platform to raise awareness of social justice issues and current events impacting Latinx, indigenous, and Oakland residents. Throughout the years dozens of altars created by local groups and artists have commemorated Oakland victims of gun violence, victims of the September 11th terrorist attack, memorialized the Ghostship fire, and drawn attention to inhumane detention centers for immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Taking place just before the general elections, the Festival has also been a significant opportunity to get out the vote.

Every year community members submit their design for the official Festival poster. You can view them all here, and purchase a 25th Anniversary commemorative poster from our booth in the Muertos Mercadito!

Return to Top