Learn more about this beautiful Mexican tradition and discover why its people carry out one of the most colorful and particular commemorations of their culture.
In early November, on the first and second days, Mexico honors its deceased through the traditional celebration of the Day of the Dead. This popular festivity consists of a beautiful ritual where Mexicans remember with joy and affection to their departed relatives.
During those days, all cemeteries throughout the country are dressed in colorful altars featuring enchanting details. Paper decorations, sugar skulls, candles, and pan de muerto (the bread of the dead). As well as the peculiar cempasúchil, the Mexican marigold that owns its name to the Nahuatl culture and which translation means flower of twenty petals. An exclusive symbol of Mexico and a must in every offering dedicated to the Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead is a festivity rooted in the history and sensibility of Mexico. It dates back to ancient times, long before the arrival of the Spaniards to the indigenous peoples, who considered death as the passage to a new life. According to the history of this tradition, the deceased were buried in a special ceremony with their belongings, and other objects they might need on that long journey. Sometimes, even the pets were sacrificed to make company to their dead owners.
In 2008 Unesco inscribed the Day of the Dead in the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” Plus, it’s considered as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage. If you are planning to visit this beautiful country during November, you can witness these symbolic celebrations that have caused admiration, doubt, and even fear in the eyes of other cultures.
Destinations in Mexico to Celebrate the Day of the Dead.
Without a doubt, the most famous cemeteries are in central Mexico, such as San Andres Mixquic, Civil de Dolores, and San Lorenzo Tezonco, to name a few. If you are in Guerrero, don not miss the opportunity to visit Zitlala, a small village in the north of the state with a strong indigenous influence that proudly celebrates these traditions.
Take advantage of your time by visiting the most popular highlights of Acapulco, and where you will surely enjoy a delicious pan de muerto during November.
Huatulco, a paradise full of beaches and bays, is not left behind on the celebrations of the Day of the Dead. The local pantheon of La Crucecita is famous for its traditional altars that invite every tourist to witness the culture and history that holds this place. Here you can also please your palate with a tasty hot chocolate drink from Oaxaca. During your vacations in Huatulco, make sure to take an enriching journey through the enchanting little towns of this remarkable area.
Other of the celebrations of the Day of the Dead you cannot miss, it is placed in the Riviera Maya. Year after year, the marvelous eco-archaeological Xcaret Park stages the unique Festival of Life and Death Traditions, which combines to perfection the rituals of the Mayan world with traditional food, spectacular offerings and altars, art expositions, theatre performances, dancing spectacles, and even gala concerts.