27 Day of the Dead – Mexico

January 22, 2024

One of Mexico’s coolest traditions, undoubtedly, is the Day of the Dead. It’s an exceptional day, a chance to relive so many memories with all your senses.

As a child, I loved when the Day of the Dead arrived because my maternal grandmother set up the most beautiful altar I can remember. If I close my eyes, I can perfectly recall the smells, the colours, and what was on each level of her altar. My grandmother prepared it with great devotion, which deeply moved me, as she always added some extra sweets for us to enjoy. I never felt the same excitement for Halloween, which is also celebrated in Mexico; my biggest thrill was visiting my grandmother’s altar.

As I grew up and life hit me with the loss of my dad, I started visiting the cemetery on the Day of the Dead. Although it initially gave me the creeps, I soon realised that going to the cemetery on November 1st or 2nd was one of the happiest and coolest days to visit our departed loved ones. The cemeteries turn into a big celebration. It’s beautiful to see the lit candles, the dazzling marigolds, the sugar skulls, the smell of all the food that families bring, and the sounds ranging from prayers to mariachi; it’s a true celebration of life and death.

❤️🇲🇽 Today, we have to honour our departed from a distance, and I like to imagine that they will first arrive at my home before continuing the celebration in beautiful and beloved Mexico.

“The dead have not abandoned us; they continue to live in the souls of those who remember and honour them on the Day of the Dead.” – Juan Rulfo

Interesting facts about the Day of the Dead in Mexico:

💀 The Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, is a Mexican festival honouring the deceased. It’s a blend of indigenous and Catholic traditions that has evolved over the centuries. During these days, we believe that the spirits of our loved ones return to visit us, and we prepare offerings, decorate altars, and visit graves to keep their memory alive.

🕯️ A central part of the celebration is the altar. These colorful compositions include portraits of the departed, candles, sugar skulls, bread of the dead, marigold flowers, and objects that used to belong to the deceased. A photo of the honoured person is placed on each altar, and it’s believed that their spirit enjoys the smells and flavours of the prepared foods.

🤤 We can’t talk about the Day of the Dead without mentioning the bread of the dead and hot chocolate. This delicious bread, adorned with sugar and shaped like a skull, is an unmistakable festival symbol. Moreover, enjoying it with a cup of hot chocolate is a tradition that comforts us and makes us feel close to our departed loved ones.

Sugar skulls and alebrijes are essential elements in the celebrations. The colourful calacas and enigmatic catrinas, like those immortalised by the engraver José Guadalupe Posada, have become symbols of the Day of the Dead.

🌼 In 2008, the Day of the Dead was recognised by UNESCO as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This underscores the importance of this celebration in the lives of Mexicans and its cultural and spiritual significance.

Thank you for reading.

Have a lovely day! 😘

Wishing you a fantastic day! 😘

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