The Day of the Dead has been celebrated in Old Town San Diego for over 200 years. In the 1800s, it was a quieter occasion than it is today. People dressed in black and walked slowly and quietly to the chapel with lighted candles to honor the dead. Fresh flowers were hard to find at that time, so people used paper flowers to decorate, which is a tradition that has carried on to this day. Today in Old Town, people still remember the dearly departed by building altars to honor them, but there’s also live music, face-painting, altar tours, and even a street fair! You can also learn to paint your own sugar skulls, paper mache masks, and craft paper flowers–but if you’d rather not, you can support local artists and buy some at the Bazaar del Mundo, the bright and beautiful promenade. The heart of the event, however expanded, remains remembrance, community, and celebration: a way to honor and offer hospitality to the spirits of your loved ones with your friends, family, and neighbors, to revel in the joy of life while acknowledging that it is fleeting.