Día De Muertos Parade Lights Up Fair Haven

Lindsay Skedgell, New Haven Independent, Nov 7, 2022


Photo: Lindsay Skedgell


Mill Street danced to life with jewel-painted faces, neon-colored skulls, and at least one hairless dog and its golden-spike-crowned owner, as over 100 people gathered for Fair Haven’s annual Día de Muertos parade.  

That was the scene Saturday at a warehouse at 26 Mill River St. for a ​“Day of the Dead” event organized by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA). That was just one of at least two such events to take place in Fair Haven on Saturday, with the Semilla Collective also hosting a Día de Muertos celebration at Bregamos Theater off of Peck Street and Blatchley Avenue. 

The back parking lot of 26 Mill St. Saturday evening was full of people in traditional dresses, faces painted with jewels framing their eyes and cheeks, getting ready for the parade. Behind them, a float was being set up, the flatbed of the truck that carried it lined with painted skulls in neon pink, green, orange, and blue. Around the float, a hairless dog whose leash was colorfully woven walked enthusiastically with its owner, whose head was adorned with a golden spiked headband. 

Inside the white warehouse space, an altar was laid out and collectively built at the entrance, a deer skull in the middle of the floor surrounded by lit candles, bread, tables bordered by apples, marigold flowers, and photographs of loved ones who had passed. Faces were being painted in bright paint and puppets lined the walls of the room. 

Saturday’s parade and festival in Fair Haven marked the 12th annual event organized by ULA, held to celebrate Mexican and indigenous cultures in New Haven and to honor the deceased. The Day of the Dead is a holiday to remember those who have passed, often involving puppets, altars, offerings and gifts, and vibrant storytelling to pay respect to the deceased. 

 “This is my husband who passed,” said Joelle Fishman, gesturing toward a tall puppet built in honor of her deceased husband, Art Perlo. He wore a black ​“People & Planet Before Profits” shirt, his hat, glasses, and mustache placed beautifully to mirror him. ​“I’m carrying on for the both of us,” Fishman stated. Perlo, who was a lifelong activist, passed away last year. 

[The article can be read in its entirety at newhavenindependent.org/article/dia_de_muertos_2022] 

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