Dia de los Muertos Kingston


 Dia de los Muertos Kingston is a grassroots initiative founded by Ollin, which hosts the Annual Dia de los Muertos Kingston Festival/Celebration with support and collaboration of Canadian Mental Health Association, Kingston Community Health Centre and more. 


Our mission is to connect the community and highlight arts and culture, in addition to health and wellness,  through creative expression and connection to honouring ancestors and those whom have died, as well as celebrate life and connecting community to wonderful support groups, grief and bereavement services, and mental health services in Kingston.

All funds generated will help cover costs for this memorable annual event taking place on the first weekend of November in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 



Save the Date

Ollin in Partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association & Kingston Community Health Centres Presents

The 5th Annual Family Friendly 

Día de los Muertos Kingston

Community Celebration of Life

Celebrating Life & Honouring Those Who Came Before Us

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019


Kingston Community Health Centres

263 Weller Ave, Kingston ON


Amazing Traditional Mexican Food to Purchase

Crafts + Silent Auction + Community Displays

Community Altar + Face Painting

Aztec Dance Ceremony by Ollin Tonatiuh

First Nations Drumming + Singing

Daniel Sakchekapo/Waabi Ode Egaa Dout Diigoo

Kings DON Taiko

Tribute to Missing & Murdered Indigenous Peoples

Spirits of the Rainbow 

Ollin Drum Circle (All Nations + All Welcome)

Mauricio Latin Beat Band and Guests

Music by Javier: Salsa, Merengue, & Cumbia Mix! 


Entrance by Donation to Support Event

100% of Proceeds goes to help cover costs of this celebration

Plus a raffle for tickets to watch 

Mariachi Herencia de México at The Grand Theatre!

Support by James Reid Funeral Home Crematorium & Reception Centre

Engage for Change via City of Kingston

Kingston & District Labour Council

The Grand Theatre

Anishnawbe Giikenimowgaywin

Ollin Tonatihu

Kings DON Taiko

Spirits of the Rainbow

Maurico Latin Beat Band

Music by Javier

Party Empire (Face Painting

Support and Participation by

Ollin (Host)

Canadian Mental Health Association (Partner)

Kingston Community Health Centres (Partner)

Kingston Latino Association

Hospice Kingston & Bereaved Families of Ontario

Alzheimer Society

Kingston Thunder Women

South East Regional Cancer Program in partnership with Cancer Care Ontario

Kingston Immigration Partnership

Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

Elizabeth Fry Kingston

Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle

Islamic Society of Kingston

Three Things Consulting

Immigrant Services Kingston and Area

Kingston Pride

Metis Nations of Ontario

HIV/AIDS Regional Services

One Roof: Kingston Youth Hub

Kingston Interval House

and Community!

Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering or participating in the preparation before the event!

ollinkingston@gmail.com or call/text Yessica at 613.770.4522

More details found in event page:



Check out this great video of our 2018 Dia de los Muertos Kingston - Community Celebration of Life

Guidelines for altaristas

Additional Information


Guidelines for all Altaristas (altar artists) 

Dia de los Muertos is a unique and transformative community event. We are grateful for your collaboration and creativity. Making an altar for a loved one that has passed away can be a cathartic and healing experience that honours both the celebration of life and the grieving of death. 

Community Altar:

There will be a space for the community altar to take place throughout the event. All are welcome to bring flowers, photos, images, and art work relating to the loved ones, or people you would like to pay tribute to. Ex: Family, friends, veterans, historical figures, anyone that has died. 

Personal Altar:

If you would like to create and share a personal altar please contact us at diadelosmuertoskingston@gmail.com to confirm your space. You will then be invited to join in to set up in the space before the celebration takes place.

We are not responsible for any lost or damaged items.

If you would like to show up with items to add to the community altar, you are more than welcome to!

Want to make something with others? Stay tuned on Facebook or join the newsletter for more workshops in the community.

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/ZNYVX 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ollin.ca1


background information


Dia de los Muertos Presentations

Please contact us for Day of the Dead Presentation for your community organization or class room.

Dia de los Muertos Kingston Information


Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead is really is about celebrating people's lives, and their contributions. It's about honouring ancestors and celebrating culture. 

Through art, music, and ritual this event honors our ancestors and celebrates the vitality and richness of today's community. While the ceremony remains true to its roots, Dia de los Muertos Kingston actively encourages participation by people of all origins. Bring candles, photos, food, or something that reminds you of a person that has passed away. 


The Day of the Dead is a unique festival that is the result of 16th century contact between Mesoamerica and Europe. Conceptually, it is a hybrid, owing its origins to both prehispanic Aztec philosophy and religion and medieval European 

When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they brought the Christian Holiday of All Soul's Day with them. This was a Roman Catholic holy day commemorating the dead in general as well as baptized Christians who were believed to be in purgatory. Spanish priests were quick to see a correlation between the Aztec and Christian celebrations so moved the Aztec festival from summer to fall so that it coincided with All Souls day. This was done in the hopes that the Aztec holiday, which the Spaniards considered to be pagan, would be transformed into an acceptable Christian holiday.

The result of this cultural blending is an event where modern Mexicanos celebrate their ancestors during the first two days of November, rather than at the beginning of summer. While this modern festival has Christian components, it still maintains its indigenous Native American ones.

Across Mexico, activities associated with Day of the Dead are fairly consistent from place to place. On the first day, families visit the graves of their relatives. During this time, they decorate the gravesite with flowers, earth, and candles. 


Decoration is not restricted to gravesites. Often times people set up home altars dedicated to the same relatives. These are profusely decorated with flowers (primarily yellow and orange marigolds and/or crysanthemums). These were called cempaxochitl and are a clear holdover from Pre-Columbian times. For the Aztecs, the color yellow referenced the autumn—a season when nature begins to die. 

The arc or arco that forms a semi-halo atop the altar is symbolic of the path taken across the heavens by the dead. As in the case of the gravesides, home altars are also adorned with religious amulets and food offerings. The foods chosen are generally those that the deceased enjoyed during his life. This can run the gamut to different kinds of fruit, to cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages. Mescal is a favorite. All in all, the altar represents a recognition of the cycle of life and death that is part of human existence. There is some slight variation in how Day of the Dead is observed in Mexico. For instance, its celebration in large cities, like Oaxaca, leans more toward the secular than the sacred. Also, foodstuffs and altar construction are, logically enough, dependant upon the natural resources of the area. Nonetheless, what seems to be maintained throughout is the remembrance of the dead and the celebration of the continuity of life and the community.

Information sourced from DayoftheDead SF


Dia de los muertos Information



 The Day of the Dead is a unique festival that is the result of 16th century contact between Mesoamerica and Europe. Conceptually, it is a hybrid, owing its origins to both prehispanic Aztec philosophy and religion and medieval European ritual practice. Ceremonies held during the Aztec summer month of Miccailhuitontli were mainly focused on the celebration of the dead. These were held under the supernatural direction of the goddess Mictecacihuatl. Both children and dead ancestors were remembered and celebrated. It was also during this month that the Aztecs commemorated fallen warriors. The Aztecs would bring offerings of food to altars in honor of the dead. They would also place small clay images that were supposed to represent the deceased on these same altars.  


  Face Painting 

Sometimes known as "sugar skull" make-up, or Catrina make-up, facepainting a skull with ornate elements is a popular element of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. 

Not to be confused as a Hallowe'en costume. 


This make-up is often taken as a statement that death isn’t something to be feared. Instead, death is seen as a natural cycle of life. And Dia de los Muertos helps the living celebrate the loved ones who have died.

In modern-day celebrations, people paint their faces to look like skulls, decorating it to represent or make tribute to a deceased loved one or as an expression of themselves, and reflection of their own life and mortality.



Calaveras/Skeleton are funny and friendly rather than frightening or spooky. They represent the deceased, their occupations and hobbies. The whimsical and colorful skeleton figures bring back memories and cause the loved one's family and friends to smile. Acquaintance with death is a cheerful one.

 Friends and family members exchange gifts consisting of sugar skeletons or other items with a death related iconography. Often times, a gift is more prized if the skull or skeleton has one's own name written on it with icing. As in the case of pan de muerto, when the celebrant takes a bite out of the skull, the person symbolically "takes a bite of death" and thereby, inoculates themselves against the fear of death. 



It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living during the dia de los muertos celebration. Marigolds guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent. Marigolds, or flowers in general, also represent the fragility of life. The marigold most commonly used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations is the Targetes erecta or African Marigold, otherwise known as cempasúchil or flower of the dead. Aztecs not only used the sacred flower for decorative purposes, but for medicinal ones as well. The flowers are edible and thought by the Aztecs to cure hiccups and heal those struck by lightening.




Each year around El Dia de los Muertos — celebrated Nov. 1 & 2 – the sky over the Mexican mountain village of Anguangeo becomes a flurry of orange. But it’s no swirl of bright autumn leaves. Instead, picture millions of monarch butterflies on the wing, fluttering in an endless stream into a few remote groves of firs in the hills above the town. The local people have long believed the monarchs are the returning spirits of their deceased relatives, mysteriously arriving at the same time each year, coinciding with the Day of the Dead. Aztec tradition holds that the souls of the departed will return as hummingbirds and butterflies, and the link between myth and the monarchs’ annual return spans centuries.

Why So Colourful?

The reason a holiday revolving around death is so full of color instead of being gloomy and gray is because we celebrate the lives led by those who are now gone. It’s not simply a day about mourning our loved ones and telling stories of them around their tombstones in the cemetery and our altars; it’s a day about remembering their lives and the impact they had upon us, as well as keeping in mind that just because they’re no longer with us doesn’t mean that they’re entirely gone, because we keep them alive in our hearts and memories.




Yellow – Represents the sun and unity, because under the sun, we’re all the same. Cempazuchitl are marigolds (yellow and orange) that symbolize death. Petals are used to make a trail so that the spirits can see and smell the path to their altars.

Orange - Sun and marigolds

White – Using this color in decorations represents spirit, hope and purity.

Red – Represents blood and life.

Purple – For this holiday, purple represents mourning, grief and suffering.

Pink – The bubbly color signifies happiness and celebration.

Marigolds – People spread petals from these round, yellow-orange flowers to guide spirits of loved ones to the celebration.

Ofrendas – Altars that are festively adorned with decorations, candles, food and photographs.

Papel Picado

Papel picado ("perforated paper," "pecked paper") is a decorative craft made by cutting elaborate designs into sheets of tissue paper.

 Papel picados arose from early Mexico. It was here that the Aztec people first chiseled spirit figures into bark, which later became the art form now known as papel picado.  Aztecs used mulberry and fig tree bark to make a rough paper called "Amatl". When tissue paper became available, artisans usually layer 40 to 50 layers of tissue and punch designs into them using "fierritos", a type of chisel. 

 Papel picados are commonly displayed for both secular and religious occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, the Day of the Dead, as well as during weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, and christenings. In Mexico, papel picados are often incorporated into the altars (ofrendas) during the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) and are hung throughout the streets during holidays. 

 Ofrendas highlight the four elements of the earth: fire, water, Earth, and air, of which papel picados represent air. Papel picado also represents the beauty yet fragility of life.





Some people hold a kind of picnic at the graveside where they interact socially among themselves and with other families and community members who are all gathered at the cemetery. The stories that are exchanged by the families often feature other people who are also buried in the same cemetery. In this way, Day of the Dead acts as a method of social cohesion between different groups of people. Folks gathered around the graves are there not only to celebrate their ancestors, but to celebrate the role that those ancestors played in a larger community.

The meals prepared for these picnics include tamales and pan de muerto (a special bread in the shape of a person). Many people believe that it is good luck to be the one who bites into the plastic toy skeleton hidden by the baker in each rounded loaf. Sweets are also included in the feast. These include, cookies, chocolate and sugar skulls.

Pan de Muerto


 The pan de muerto is a type of sweet roll traditionally baked in Mexico during the weeks leading up to the Día de Muertos, which is most often celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is a sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun, often decorated with bone-shaped phalanges pieces. Pan de muerto is eaten on Día de Muertos, at the gravesite or altar of the deceased. In some regions, it is eaten for months before the official celebration of Dia de Muertos. In Oaxaca, pan de muerto is the same bread that is usually baked, with the addition of decorations. As part of the celebration, loved ones eat pan de muerto as well as the relative's favorite foods. 

The bones represent the disappeared one and there is normally a baked tear drop on the bread to represent tears drops. The bones are represented in a circle to portray the circle of life. The bread is topped with sugar. 

The classic recipe for pan de muerto is a simple sweet bread recipe, often with the addition of anise seeds, and other times flavored with orange flower water. Other variations are made depending on the region or the baker. 




A tamale (Spanish: tamal, Nahuatl languages: tamalli) is a traditional Mesoamerican dish, probably from modern-day Mexico, made of masa or dough (starchy, and usually corn -based), which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping can either be discarded prior to eating, or be used as a plate, the tamale eaten from within. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.

Tamale comes from the Nahuatl word tamalli (meaning "wrapped") via Spanish where the singular is tamal and the plural tamales. The word tamale is a back-formation of tamales, with English speakers assuming the singular was tamale and the plural tamales.

 The Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmec and Toltec before them, used tamales as easily portable food, for hunting trips, and for traveling large distances, as well as supporting their armies. Tamales were also considered sacred as it is the food of the gods. Aztec, Maya, Olmeca, and Tolteca all considered themselves to be people of corn and so tamales played a large part in their rituals and festivals.

The main types of tamales served are:

Rojo (red): 

Tamal with chicken and mole rojo (red mole).

Verde (green): 

Tamal with chicken and salsa verde (green salsa).

Rajas con Queso: 

Tamal with slices of poblano chiles and cheese. 

Dulce (sweet): 

Sweet tamales, sometimes with raisins and often look pink.

Sugar Skulls


Sugar skulls that are created to resemble the deceased. 

 The reason they come in different sizes, besides decoration purposes, is because small skulls are usually meant to represent children, while the bigger skulls represent adults and elders. 


The reason a holiday revolving around death is so full of color instead of being gloomy and gray is because we celebrate the lives led by those who are now gone. It’s not simply a day about mourning our loved ones and telling stories of them around their tombstones in the cemetery and our altars; it’s a day about remembering their lives and the impact they had upon us, as well as keeping in mind that just because they’re no longer with us doesn’t mean that they’re entirely gone, because we keep them alive in our hearts and memories.


Details posted soon.

 Details posted soon. 



Details posted soon.