Mexico is a country well known for its traditions and exaltation of culture. Its inhabitants are experts on merging Mexico’s rich history with a strong spirit. Every year, the Mexican people remember and honor their deceased loved ones. Definitely, taking a twist on the traditional ideology of death itself and turning it into a festive and colorful national holiday: the Day of the Dead. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation. As a result, this has become one of the key elements that define Mexican culture. A perfect reason for UNESCO to recognize it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Discover
3 great ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico during your holidays.
At a cemetery
Visiting cemeteries during the Day of the Dead has become customary among families that hang around among the decorated graves. Eating a lot of food, and enjoying the candlelight ambiance are a part of this celebration. Although, some might think that spending time on a cemetery during the night is nothing but creepy, Mexicans on the contrary, transform the place into a beautiful gathering. Once you go inside you’ll see the place filled with traditional decorations.
Colorful sugar skulls, usually with someone’s name inscribed on top; pan de muerto –the special bread of the season; and cempasuchil flowers, which bloom this time of year impregnating the air with its delicious aroma. Their petals are commonly placed on the floor as paths to guide the dead from the grave to other places. People on cemeteries are usually families who visit the loved ones that passed away, but the entrance is open to anyone who wants to witness the celebration in a respectful way and share with the locals as they all have a good time.
Also called “ofrendas” constructed to welcome the spirits of those who visit us from the land of the dead who are believed to continue existing on a different plane to ours, having a “day off” and being able to visit the land of the living for one night a year to reunite with their family and loved ones. These are decorated with traditional elements, usually placing the favorite dishes of those who the altars are dedicated to and things they used to enjoy when they were alive so that they can consume its essence and aroma. Hotels in the Riviera Maya and parks such as Xcaret usually make it a group activity where anyone can take part in creating their own altar dedicated to someone special.
Day of the Dead Parades
The Day of the Dead is a true celebration that reinforces the idea that life is too short to waste. A treasure so special that even after it’s over, it’s worth to praise. The most common parades include the Catrinas. Here, thousands of women dress up in elegant traditional gowns and paint their faces to look like skulls. However, these are not scary or gloomy way, rather a more colorful makeup mixed with bright accessories and flowers. More specifically, in Riviera Maya, you can enjoy Xcaret’s Festival of Life and Death, one of the top cultural events in the Mexican Caribbean celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd.
Consider this Mexican holiday whenever you are choosing your holiday destination. Based on ancient Aztec rituals meant to honor those who died. You will be able to witness the special celebration in all of its manifestations. Immerse in an attempt to explain the mystery of life and death as Mexicans see it. Live the Day of the Dead.