When it comes to celebrations in San Antonio, few are as lively as Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead. It’s a multi-day, citywide festival, in fact, when we honor family members and friends who have passed away. The photo above comes from Pearl, which attracted 3,000 people to its celebration over the past few days.

The Dia de los Muertos is all about great food, mariachi music, art, costumes, face painting, parades and beautiful altars filled with offerings – ofrendas – of marigolds, photos, painted skulls and masks, incense, candles and even the favorite snacks of those we’ve lost. The response to Pearl’s community altar was so overwhelming that extra panels and clotheslines were added to accommodate all the lovely treasures that folks brought.

I especially love the altar at Hotel Emma, dedicated to Emma Koehler. Emma ran the brewery after her husband and Pearl president Otto Koehler died in 1914. She kept the brewery going during Prohibition by converting operations to dry cleaning and auto repair, and making near beer, ice cream and soda. While other breweries were shutting down, Emma kept her entire workforce employed. She turned over control of the company to a nephew in 1933, but was a formidable presence at the brewery until her death in 1943.

I think Emma would be touched by such a lovely display in her honor.

San Antonio is an incredibly celebratory city, especially when it comes to Dia de los Muertos. I’ve ranked it #14 on my 300 Reasons to Love San Antonio list. For more on San Antonio’s Dia de los Muertos celebrations, check out this excellent recap in San Antonio Current.


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