PHOTOS: Downtown Long Beach explodes with color for Dia de Los Muertos festival

The smell of tacos al pastor and the sound of mariachi music filled the air along Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach as part of the Dia de Los Muertos block party festivities on Saturday.

Guests at the free event enjoyed live performances from an all-women mariachi band called Mariachi Angelito, who played classic ranchera and some cumbia songs. Food trucks lined Pine Avenue along with artisans selling merchandise under decorative papel picado flyers strung from the apartment buildings above.

The event was hosted to celebrate the Latin American holiday that pays homage to deceased family members. The holiday is not so much Latin America’s version of Halloween, which is dark and horror-inducing, but more of a celebration of life, as the festivities are often adorned with colorful ofrendas where images of dead family members are placed alongside painted skulls and candles as a way to honor their life.

The band Mariachi Angelitos plays for the crowd at the Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

People dance to cumbia music at the Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

Tanya Selz, left, and Ayla, right, wear their costumes to the Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

Rosa’s Street Tacos venders dish out fresh tacos to guests of the Dia de Los Muertos event in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

Artisans sell their merchandise at the Dia de Los Muertos event in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

A woman takes a photo of an ofrenda altar, where traditionally photographs of dead family members is placed during Dia de Los Muertos to honor their memory. Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

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