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Marigolds: A symbolic flower for Dia de Los Muertos

Conservation, Herff Farm

Marigolds: A symbolic flower for Dia de Los Muertos

By Jasmine Torrez

This year the Cibolo Center for Conservation will be hosting a Monarch Festival on October 23rd at Herff Farm from 10 am to 1 pm. Many activities are planned for this event that honor the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge and the monarch’s annual migration.

Mayor Handren’s Monarch Pledge is an initiative created by the National Wildlife Federation as a conservation effort to restore and create habitat for pollinators and Monarchs to thrive. As a driving partner, we are proud to collaborate with the City of Boerne and The Boerne Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas to encourage the community to take a deeper interest in saving the native pollinators who call Boerne home or pass through on migration paths. That was our motivation in creating this year’s Monarch Festival.

One of the festival’s activities includes picking marigolds, a common flower for this time of year, especially for Dia de Los Muertos. Dia de Los Muertos originated in Mexico and is now celebrated in many different countries by those of Mexican descent. This celebration runs from October 31st at midnight through November 2nd and is known as the time between worlds where the dead can visit the living. Throughout this celebration, nature is used and symbolizes a variety of different things.

One of the brightest and most well-known symbols is the marigold or cempasuchil, the flower of the dead. Those who celebrate this tradition believe the flower helps the dead find their way back to their loved ones in the living world through its vibrant color and strong scent. Because of these strong properties, marigolds or cempasuchiles are used to decorate altars or ofrendas and the graves of the deceased. The word cempasuchil comes from the Aztecs and, when translated, means flower of many petals. The Aztecs considered this flower sacred and thought it represented the sun. Native to the Americas this flower begins blooming in early summer and dies at the first frost.

This year, we highlight this beautiful flower’s significance at our Monarch festival on October 23rd. Depending on the weather, festival-goers will have a chance to handpick some marigolds to take home. Additionally, adults can register for a painting class at 10:00 am, where attendees will paint a bright orange marigold on a black canvas. We will discuss the cultural significance and symbolism of the marigold and other related topics during the painting class. We will also be setting up an altar to demonstrate the different ways you can decorate using marigolds.

Our Monarch Festival on Saturday, October 23rd, will be an excellent way for parents and families to enjoy a day on the farm while engaging in learning about how to protect and support monarchs.

During the Farmer’s Market at Herff Farm, families can participate in:

Archery lessons

Tossing milkweed seed balls

Purchase native plants

Children’s “butterfly” and Aerial yoga

Glass Blowing

Hikes through the Herff Farm Monarch Meadow

Marigold picking to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos

Painting in the garden

Storytime in the Barn

Attend a Beekeeping Class

Shop with our market vendors

And so much more.

Donations (suggested $10 per family; $5 individual) collected at the event will provide more native plants for the pollinator garden at Herff Farm. A lush pollinator garden is a haven for pollinators and ensures their survival.

We hope you can join us on October 23rd at Herff Farm. The festival starts at 10 am and runs through 1 pm in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market at Herff Farm.

Visit for more information, and be sure to follow the Cibolo Center for Conservation on social media for additional details on the festival.