Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is often confused with Halloween as it closely follows the holiday. Its true origins stem back to the Aztec festival that honours the goddess Michacacihuatl, also known as Lady of the Dead. The 1st November is traditionally the Dia de los Angelitos or Day of the Little Angels where the infants and children that has passed away can be remember. The 2nd November is the Day of the Dead. Mexicans believe that on these days the souls of lost loved ones return to earth to be with their family once more.
Individuals celebrate the holiday in different ways. Some grieve or mourn; others use the day as a light hearted way of reflecting on lost relatives. A typical symbol of the Day of the Dead are the Catrina figures – skeletons dressed in formal clothing, originating as a parody poking fun at the upper class Mexican female. Other traditions involve reciting short poems called calaveritas that highlight the funny moments shared with the deceased in the past.
The way Mexican’s celebrate varies from region to region. The cemetery tends to play a large role in the celebrations with offers of favourite food and drinks of the deceased left at the graves. Colourful events and celebrations are often accompanied by music, costumes, food and drink and involve both adults and children.
Good places to see the celebrations are San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, Mixquic in Mexico City or Patzcuaro in Michocan. To visit the day of the dead celebrations in 2014 or any part of the Mexico please get in touch.