Day of the Dead • Vision RCL

Join Redbridge Culture & Libraries on Saturday 4 November for a vibrant celebration of life & death in this family friendly arts festival inspired by festivals and traditions from around the world.

What is the Day of the Dead?

Death is seen in different ways around the world.

The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday celebrated on 1 & 2 November in conjunction with All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

The Mexicans believe that on this day the souls of the dead return to visit their families and friends to enjoy food, drink and other earthly pleasures. Many families make offerings and produce decorations for this event.

It is a joyful time that helps people remember their loved ones and celebrate their memory instead of dwelling on the sadness of death.

Brightly coloured sugar skulls are a common feature throughout the festival. These skulls symbolise the joy and spirit of the deceased loved ones. This practice depicts the colour of life, but it can also contain some hints of the deceased one’s personality and favourite things in life.

Dressing up as skeletons is part of the fun. People of all ages have their faces artfully painted to resemble skulls and wear glamorous dresses and fancy suits to imitate La Catrina who is the most recognizable symbol of Day of the Dead. She’s an elegantly dressed skeleton who reminds us of our mortality.

Day of the Dead at Redbridge Central Library

The celebrations in Redbridge will take place at Redbridge Central Library on Saturday 4 November from 10.30am to 6pm. Join us for a colourful and memorable day.

The programme includes:

  • Arts & Crafts     
  • Arts Exhibitions
  • Storytelling
  • Face Painting
  • Live music & entertainment
  • Games
  • A grand parade

Most activities in the library will run from 1-5pm followed by the Grand parade which will leave Redbridge Central Library after 5pm. (All times are approximate and could change on the day).

For those who prefer to come when the festival is quieter, we will have limited activities available from 10.30am.

Most activities are free and drop in. However, some activities will have a small charge and will need to be booked in advance. There will also be a small charge for face painting but booking is not needed. Please check the information for each activity carefully.

To get everyone into the party mood, we encourage all adults & children to wear brightly coloured clothes or to dress in Day of the Dead Inspired costumes. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed!

Content Warning: The festival deals with the theme of death which might be upsetting for some people. The subject will be approached sensitively and all activities have been designed with family audiences in mind. However, parental guidance is recommended for some activities.

Event Programme


We want everyone to be able to enjoy our festival and have taken the following steps to open the festival to a wider audience:

The following shows and stories will have BSL interpretation:

  • 1pm: ‘October Fiesta’ a 30-minute interactive children’s theatre show inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead by ITZATNA Arts.
  • 3pm: The Long Barrow with Minnie Wilkinson.

We will also have:

  • Relaxed hours and familiarisation from 10:30am – 1pm.
  • A relaxed animated film screening from10:30am – 1pm.
  • An Easy Read document about what to expect on the day.
  • Barkingside Art Club (BAC) are running inclusive Pop-Up print workshops, designing patterns using pre-designed Kahlo-inspired linocuts. They will also support children on the autistic spectrum with The Spectrum Studio 11am-12pm (See below for details).
  • A Touch Tour of the decorative art (times tbc).
  • Friendly Festival hosts will help you find your way around the festival.

The venue is wheel-chair accessible and guide dogs are welcome.

Please contact for more information.

This festival has been curated by Redbridge Libraries & Culture Development team for Vision RCL. Our festival has been visually inspired by Dia de los Muertos and aims to be educational and to show appreciation of the Mexican culture.

Look what’s happening! – Paid activities available to pre-book.

Look what’s happening! – Free activities

lottery funded arts council england logo

The Death Positive Library

Redbridge Library Service is the UK’s first Death Positive Library Service.

Death positivity is an emerging philosophy that reframes the way people view death and encourages people to speak openly about death, dying and grief.

Death positivity is about making the most of life, reducing the impact that our deaths have on the environment, and allowing those who are dying to do so with greater dignity and comfort.

Since 2017, Redbridge Library Service has been exploring creative ways to help people talk about death and grief by using books, films, arts, and tea and cake!  We host regular events and have curated book collections on all aspects of death, dying and bereavement.

Our service has led the way in creating a national framework and has inspired other libraries across the UK and Northern Ireland to become death positive.