Viva La Vida 2020 Goes Virtual! Presented by Austin Convention Center

Oct. 31, 2020

Oct. 31, 2020 @ 12:00 pm Nov. 2, 2020 @ 12:30 pm


Celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican Americans alike, as well as others in Latin America, Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead is an important religious and cultural event that synthesizes pre-Columbian traditions and Catholic Church practices. Originating in ancient Mexico, the annual celebration is increasingly observed in the United States as part of contemporary Latinx popular culture. Day of the Dead blends indigenous religious and cultural rituals with customs surrounding the Catholic holy days: 

  • November 1: All Saints’ Day (prayers said to saints and martyrs)
  • November 1: Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels, dedicated to souls of deceased children)
  • November 2: All Souls’ Day (prayers and offerings made to deceased relatives and friends, especially for souls in Purgatory)

During this yearly event, cemeteries are cleaned. Home and public altars or ofrendas (offerings) are built to honor the dead, who they attract with food, drink, candles, incense, marigold flowers, and objects once favored in their lives.


Photos & Video by Chris Caselli

Parade & Festival

Mexic-Arte Museum’s Viva La Vida Festival & Parade Presented by Austin Convention Center  is Austin’s largest and longest-running Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival and parade in Texas. As part of the Mexic-Arte Museums’s continued initiative to bring Museum events right to your screen, the Mexic-Arte is presenting Viva la Vida in a whole new way. Enjoy all the components that make Viva la Vida such a special, vibrant celebration, virtually!

  • What: Viva la Vida Fest 2020 – Goes Virtual
  • Live Events: October 31st 2020-November 2nd 2020

The Mexic-Arte is proud to present our festival to viewers from all over Austin, and across the world, expanding our popular festival in ways we never thought possible. See footage from parades past, check out Mariposa Plaza for educational activities, and follow along to Dia de los Muertos traditions. You can see our 37th Annual Day of the Dead Exhibition in person, or virtually below. Thank you, and welcome to Viva la Vida Goes Virtual!

Mariposa Plaza

Mariposa Plaza, led by our education team, is traditionally where families and children of all ages can participate in hands on, artist led art activities. With our new virtual format, Viva la Vida Festival’s Mariposa Plaza is proud to present the Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos Educational Activity Guide, which can be used by teachers, students, researchers, and more. Follow along with Dia de los Muertos traditions by checking out the activities and lessons below!

guide book
El Día de los Muertos / Day of the Dead Education Activity Guide


Subject to change 
October 31st – November 2nd

October 31st | 7:00pm – 8:30pm CST

Austin Classical Guitar Ofrendas

Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklorico de Texas

Mariachi Chavez •

DJ Suxxy-Puxxy

November 1st | 5:00pm – 6:30pm CST

Austin Classical Guitar Ofrendas

Danza Azteca Guadalupana de Austin

Story Time with Danielle Houtkooper •

La Catrina y Jose Guadalupe Posada •

Mi Trova Children’s Guitar School



Food and drink are an essential part of Dia de los Muertos festivities, utilized as offerings placed on altars, or ofrendas, to entice the spirits of loved ones back for a visit. Colorful, decorated sugar skulls are made to adorn altars, gifted to friends as treats, and represent the vitality of life. Pan de Muerto, also known as “dead bread,” is a soft sweet bread shaped into a round bun with bone shapes on top. Try making Sugar Skulls or Pan de Muerto at home by following the recipes below!


exhibitions background
Day of the Dead-Altares Meseta (Plateau) by Mary J. Andrade
This video shows the distinct tradition of the  Dia de los Muertos ofrenda assembled in the homes in the Purépecha Plateau of  Michoacán, in Southwestern Mexico.

In Memory of Mexican Victims of the COVID-19 Pandemic by Maria Eugenia Ramirez Flores, 2020
This altar is in honor of the lives that left their roots, parents and a beautiful country. For this altar, I wrote a “Calavera” (a traditional composition of verses that are written for “Dia de los Muertos”) to remember those who have passed away.


This year Mexic-Arte Museum’s Day of the Dead Exhibition features an array of altars that reflect, in one form or another, the pre-Columbian influence of the Aztec religion and its observance of death; the Mexican interpretation of Catholic rituals; and the mezcla (mixture) of traditional and contemporary expressions. Community altars in the exhibit include an homage to the following: Latinx victims of the COVID epidemic by Maria Eugenia Ramirez Flores; persons who have died from AIDS; children, and heroes of the U.S. civil rights movement, just to mention a few. The Consulate General of Mexico honors deceased individuals in Mexico with a traditional ofrenda. The Museum also pays tribute to revolutionary and President of Mexico Jose Venustiano Carranza de la Garza (1859 – 1920) on his 100th Death Anniversary; and pays respect to famous Guatemalan-Mexican muralist and master painter Rina Lazo (October 23, 1923 – November 1, 2019).


This exhibition prominently features a special showing of Day of the Dead artwork from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection, which consists of over 1,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptural pieces. A former librarian at the University of Texas at El Paso, Mr. Sandoval generously donated his extensive art collection in 2020 to the Mexic-Arte Museum. Beginning in 1964, he started his vast collection that represents Borderland cultural history and includes notable artists such as Eric Avery, Felipe Ehrenberg, Luis Jimenez, and others.  

All featured artwork in carousel are gifts courtesy of Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr.

Tour the collection virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!


New at the Mexic-Arte Museum Store! Shop from a selection of Day of the Dead items and Viva la Vida merch both online and in-store.

Viva la Vida Bundle

Viva La Vida bundle includes a Viva La Vida Baeball T, your choice of Viva enamel pin, and a Mexic-Arte Museum tote bag.

mask set
Viva la Vida Embroidered Face Mask Set of 4

Collect all four of Viva la Vida embroidered calavera masks!

Fabric & Care:

  • 100% embroidered cotton and Poly lining
  • Machine wash cold, gentle cycle, tumble dry low.
  • Masks must be laundered prior to first wear
offering table
Day of the Dead Offering Table

Mini Day of the Dead ofrenda (offering) table with assorted handmade items. Each table is uniquely handcrafted by artisans in Mexico, as a result product may differ slightly from photo.

Measures approx. 6 cm.

“Viva la Vida” Mini Altar Kit

Honor the dear and departed by building your own Dia de los Muertos altar. Arrange these ofrendas while learning about their traditional meanings with a free download of Mexic-Arte Museum’s Day of the Dead Guide. 

Kit includes: Medium ceramic sugar skull, small ceramic sugar skull, mini papel picado banner, mazapan De la Rosa *contains peanuts*, votive candle, Viva la Vida paletas, matchbox magnet, mini serape, and a bouquet of paper flower

Packaging box serves as a platform to build your altar. Extra tissue included to decorate your box. Please note all items vary in color and may be different than those pictured. 

Viva la Vida 2020 Goes Virtual!


Additional Education Sponsors

Web page illustrations inspired by Cleofas Ramirez Celestino: The illustrations in this web page are an homage to the artists of the State of Guerrero, Cleofas Ramirez Celestino, and a depiction of the true spirit of a traditional Día de los Muertos celebration.

Reference: Cleofas Ramirez Celestino of Xalita, Guerrero Celebration of el Día de Los Muertos in Xalitla, 2001 Acrylic on Amate, 41” x 37” (unframed) Mexic-Arte Museum Collection, Gift of Fran Karttunen.