The celebration of the Day of the Dead has been considered an Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2008. It's part of one of the Mexican festivities and with great importance but celebrated with less intensity in other countries of the American continent, which teaches us to commemorate the passage from life to death. This season, go to Michoacán, Puebla, Oaxaca and Mexico City, and enjoy - between candles and cempasúchil flowers - the traditions that identify the festivities of the faithful departed.
Pátzcuaro, Michoacán and its Purépecha Towns
In Michoacán, Purépecha towns around Lake Pátzcuaro and the island of Janitzio perform the wake ritual most deeply rooted in Day of the Dead tradition. Every corner of the Magical Town of Pátzcuaro is filled with festivity. In the Basilica of Pátzcuaro pieces alluding to death are displayed, and boats depart from the piers for the island of Janitzio, while fishermen perform their rituals. A presentation of pre-Hispanic lighted ball games (uarhukua) is presented in Tzintzuntzan (the night of November 1st). In the small town of Jarácuaro, the most spectacular decorations are in the Temple of San Pedro and in the Chapel of the Nativity. In Arócutin, the festivities begin in the large arch of flowers in the shape of a church placed outside the Temple of Our Lady of the Nativity. In Cuanajo, the wooden horses that are "mounted" on the offerings and the altars of the houses known as ketzitakua, dedicated to those who died during the year.
Día de Muertos in Oaxaca
During the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, it is filled with delicious smells such as black mole, Oaxacan sweets, manzanitas de tejocote, chocolate de agua and the traditional pan de muerto. This is the customary day for "carrying the dead", in which family members and friends are given a portion of the food that was part of the altar offering. At the General Cemetery of Oaxaca, they decorate the tombs of their faithful deceased and take time to sit next to their niches. The cempasuchil flower's color, combined with the glow from thousands of candles, illuminates the cemetery on that day. There is also an opportunity to view altars inside the cemetery, since a contest is held to showcase the creativity and originality of the people living there.
The Grand Festival in Mexico City
Mexico City is filled with color this season, from flower containers on Paseo de la Reforma to offerings placed in museums. Skulls, Catrinas, inhabitants of the underworld and even Death itself take the Paseo de la Reforma to "Celebrate life" among flowers and colors. The Parade is one of the events that takes place within the framework of the traditional Day of the Dead festivities that Mexicans carry out to commemorate our deceased. With allegorical cars and beautiful choreographies accompanied by live music, the tour begins at the National Auditorium and ends at the CDMX Zócalo, where the Festival of Offerings and Floral Arrangements awaits them. This year the monumental Alebrijes will be invited to the parade!
The Spectacular Día de Muertos altars in Huaquechula, Puebla
This town located 45 kilometers from the city of Puebla is recognized for the beautiful altars that are installed on November 1st and 2nd. Taking inspiration from pre-Hispanic traditions of the region, the altars are predominantly white, reflecting the pre-Hispanic tradition. Most notable are those of the "cabo de año", commemorating those who died before the Day of the Dead. Besides the altars, the town also performs a unique ritual. During the afternoon of November 1st, the temple bells ring, signaling the arrival of the dead, who walk a path adorned with cempasúchil flowers. The offerings are scented with copal and incense and the doors of the houses are opened. In the afternoon, the street procession of visitors continues, but at night is when the magical luminous effect happens inside family homes.