The Top 5 destinations in Mexico to spend the Day of the Dead
Hello travelers, how are you? This blog post was very excited to write because this season is one of my favorites of the year, not only because of the autumn tones in the clothes (my closet is full of these colors haha), Because of all the cultural richness that surrounds the traditional Day of the Dead, and I mean 100% Mexican cultural wealth, that is, the altars of the dead, the traditional skulls (the written ones, the sugar ones and the painted ones hehe), the bread "de Muerto", which is a delight, the sweet potato and pumpkin that we traditionally eat on the Day of the Dead.
In this post I do not want to extend myself in a summary about what culturally the Day of the Dead is and what it involves in Mexico, rather I want to recommend certain places in our country where we can enjoy this cultural and traditional wealth, so that we can live it more in own flesh.
This celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico is a tradition so full of cultural richness that it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Certain places in Mexico celebrate this important day in our traditions in a more vivid way than other regions, some cities carry out festivals around the celebration of the Day of the Dead, in other cities ceremonies are held where families gather to remember to your loved ones, as they do it as in Disney's Coco movie haha, if you are not Mexican and want to understand a little more how this day is lived in Mexico this movie will give you a good introduction and presentation, here a little:
Before starting with the list of places, I would like to comment that for obvious reasons of the pandemic some of the activities are probably not carried out, however other places probably carry out the activities on a small scale or could save this article to schedule a trip to next year celebrate it as it deserves.
Let's start with one of the most traditional places to live this day and that has been celebrating the Day of the Dead for many years:
The Day of the Dead in this beautiful place is filled with colors, traditions, delicious food, music, remembering our loved ones, light and altars.
Paztcuaro is located approximately 1 hour from Morelia, the capital of Michoacán, you can get there by taking a bus from Morelia or by highway Morelia-uruapan / Mexico in your own car.
TIP: book accommodation months or weeks before to find places, since it is currently the most popular place to live the traditions of a day of the dead, book on Booking.
In this destination the celebrations start from October 28 to November 2, many people take advantage of the holiday in Mexico to travel to this place to live our traditions.
Something really magical about living this tradition in this place is to see how on the night of November 1 at around 8:30 pm the lake is filled with canoes lit with candles and adorned with marigold flowers to reach the beautiful island of Janitzio to decorate the pantheon with incredible and colorful altars, around 9:30 pm there is a procession on the way to the pantheon accompanied by religious songs, during the night the relatives of those remembered people gather in the pantheon to sing, remember and venerate their loved ones, and exchange food offerings. The pantheon is illuminated with all those candles and flowers decorating the place, and during the day the region lives a festival around the day of the dead full of art, catrinas, traditions, dances and gastronomy.
To experience the Day of the Dead in this region you must visit: Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, Janitzio, Ihuatzio, Zirahúen and Yunuen.
Something very good that has been implemented around this celebration in Patzcuaro is that agencies have started with tours to the islands of Lake Janitzio to visit all the Pantheons, the cost of these tours is around $ 800 pesos per person, it lasts all the night ending around 5am, so it is better to be well prepared and rested, and they take you to visit all the decorated pantheons of the islands and live this tradition in depth all night of November 1st.
In this beautiful state the festival of the Skulls is held to celebrate the traditional day of the dead, this festival has been carried out in the state of Aguascalientes since 1994, this festival is also joined in memory and reminder to the engraver and cartoonist from the region, Jose Guadalupe Posada, known precisely for his works related to the Popular Catrinas.
The Day of the Dead in Aguascalientes lasts the last week of October and the first week of November, within the activities we can enjoy cultural activities, dances, music, cultural tianguis, exhibitions of altars of the dead and a beautiful parade of catrinas full of color and flowers. I have seen this parade once and I really liked it! It is very fun to see how everyone prepares to wear the best catrin or catrina outfit. It is the 2nd most important festivity in the state of Aguascalientes after the traditional San Marcos Fair.
Another place to experience this celebration in all its splendor is in Oaxaca, which apart from enjoying an extraordinary gastronomy you will be able to live the traditions around this day also in an authentic way. Day of the Dead offerings in Oaxaca are popularly known throughout the world for their beauty and complexity. Another super nice aspect of living this tradition in Oaxaca is that they mix pre-Hispanic customs and elements with religious elements of the modern era, so you can go back to the tradition from its most original essence.
The festivities in this region begin on October 31, which is when the streets begin to fill with the typical atmosphere of the day of the dead, families begin to make the traditional altars of the dead for their deceased adorned with dishes that they liked and you cannot miss the traditional and delicious Mole de Oaxaca. On the 1st of November it is a tradition to "carry the dead" which consists of carrying and exchanging food with other families, food that is part of the offerings at the altar of the dead, during the night the families go to the pantheons to watch and decorate the gravestones with beautiful colors, flowers and candles.
This night of the 1st of November there is also what they call "the comparsas" which is a kind of parade full of joy, colors, catrinas, flowers and candles, Led by a musical band and they are announced with a small bell that warns The families and people who are passing by that the caravan is about to arrive, within this parade there are rockets who focus only on launching pyrotechnics announcing the arrival of the deceased that night, and also inside the caravan are the "chargers" who are people that focus solely on collecting the food that the families give them from their offerings, and they join the caravan. Something super nice is that a family that will be the "host family" that night, receives the entire caravan that night and offers them food and the traditional Oaxacan Mezcal, then they all go to the main square to perform comic representations about Alegría of death. It is a celebration that invites us to live together and remember our ancestors.
This beautiful caravan starts around 6pm and the celebration, decoration in the pantheons lasts all night on November 1st. This is carried out in the capital of the state of Oaxaca, but a very beautiful tradition is also lived in the Oaxacan municipality of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, in this place families usually make rugs with petals, flour and painting of the saints to which The deceased they are remembering that night was a devotee.
The objective of celebrating the Day of the Dead in Teotihuacán focuses more than anything on the preservation of our traditions and celebrating it as our ancestors did since pre-Hispanic times. The festival takes place in the archaeological zone of Teotihuacán, the first days of November.
The parties are called Festival Chaman, and within the activities of these parties they have carried out different activities, each year they improve their program and reinvent the activities, something super nice to witness is the massive lighting of candles made to illuminate the path of souls They will visit us on the night of the dead, another of the activities they have carried out is the liberation of butterflies as offerings for the deceased, they also usually perform the traditional pre-Hispanic game of ball and launching of cantoya balloons.
It is also an excellent opportunity to admire the pyramids in Teotihuacán illuminated at night. They also perform a show called the "trip to the mictlan" which is a show to remember the traditions and how our ancestors celebrated and worshiped death.
Mixquic is a town in Mexico City, located about an hour from Xochimilco, and is part of the Chinampera area and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in this area we can also find an unforgettable celebration of the Day of the Dead In our country. This region welcomes the deceased with the long-awaited and traditional "Alumbrada", during the night of November 1st the festivities begin and the lighting of candles in the pantheon around 7pm to receive the visit of the deceased, they are the only lights that will be illuminating the night, a spectacle worth knowing. Among the activities they also carry out a cardboard skull contest, a procession is carried out in the same way towards the pantheons to decorate it with the traditional altars of the dead and candles, in the procession they also usually make comic representations of death.
The entire celebration is accompanied by local gastronomy and music by some traditional Mariachi accompanying the families while awake in the pantheons. And here we end our list of the 5 best destinations to spend the traditional Day of the Dead in Mexico. let us remember our deceased and celebrate this day with the joy it deserves and our beautiful traditions. I hope that this short summary of the festivities in each of the 5 destinations will be of great use to you and now more than ever we must spread our traditions, support the local economy and the reactivation of tourism in our Mexico. It is now that we must prioritize visiting our national local destinations.
to continue knowing more incredible Mexico destinations: Mazamitla