© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Dead charm: where to celebrate Day of the Dead

Posted at 3:30 pm, October 31, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment
© Beth Sanders

In Mexico they call it Día de los Muertos. In the US it’s known as Day of the Dead. In London, however, we tend to know it as ‘Aren’t you a day late for a Halloween costume?’

Not for long, though. This year there’s a rash of events in London joining in with November 1’s colourful, skull-mask-bedecked commemoration of deceased loved ones. The biggest is Wahaca’s four-day celebration at the Old Vic Tunnels (October 31-November 3) on Thursday November 1. There will be kids’ workshops in skull painting and cardboard coffin-decorating during the day (day pass £5); and adult fun in the evening, with street food, mescal cocktails, DJs and a headline set by Mexican flamenco duo (and former thrash-metallers) Rodrigo Y Gabriela.

Bottles of tequila-alike spirit mescal are traditionally laid on the graves of the deceased as gifts. So no surprises that new Hoxton bar Mezcaleria Quiquiriqui is throwing a bash. It will host a Day of the Innocent Angels event on November 1, with mescal tastings and fancy dress; actual Day of the Dead celebrations take place on November 2, with face-painting, free jugs of mescal cocktails for the best costume and DJs playing cumbia: Afro-Latino Colombian party music. Hoxtonites looking for a sexier vibe should head to Slagbox at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen  on Wednesday October 31. Punters will be encouraged to deck themselves out in skulls and bring a single friend to this quirky dating night where you write cheeky notes to members of the opposite sex.

For a free festival taster, check out Voyage of the Dead: A Moveable Feast. This procession along the waterways and streets of east London (with canal boats, two-wheeled chariots and donkeys) kicks off at 3pm on Saturday November 3 outside CG Hair Salon (546 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH). Expect dancing, chanting, rituals, libations and rites along the way – we particularly like the sound of the moustache death ritual and painting of the sugar skulls. It all ends in a banquet (£25) and afterparty (£10) packed with hula-hoop-dancing, mariachi bands and African drummers. Viva los muertos.

For more Halloween events, check out our Halloween listings.

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