The Day of the Dead in Mexico City is celebrated each year on November 1 and 2. These two days, also known as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, are celebrations in Mexico when deceased family members are remembered and celebrated. While Mexico Day of the Dead traditions vary in different regions of the country, they often include building altars to honor the dead and visiting graves. Those taking part in the Mexico City Dia de los Muertos, as the holiday is called in Spanish, often celebrate by cooking the favorite foods of the deceased and bringing gifts to the graves of their loved ones. Decorative skulls are a common sight, but this day of celebration can be a festive occasion, as evidenced by the Mexico City Day of the Dead parade.
The origins of the festival date back to the ancient Aztec civilization. In the Aztec calendar, the celebration lasted an entire month. The festivities of this time were dedicated to a goddess called the Lady of the Dead. These traditions have spread, and if you happen to be in Brazil or Spain on November 1 and 2, these countries also have a similar celebration. On November 1, Day of the Dead in Mexico City celebrates the lives of innocents—mainly children who died. On November 2, Mexico City Dia de los Muertos celebrates the deceased adults who lived a full life.
Mexico City Day of the Dead shows a real connection with family and loved ones. Traditions include going to cemeteries to try and communicate with the souls of departed loved ones. Many Mexicans build private altars where they bring the favorite food and drinks of their dead, and even photos and memorabilia, among other decorations. The purpose of this tradition on the Day of the Dead in Mexico City is to encourage visits by their dearly departed. While the holiday can have a reputation outside Mexico as being a somber occasion, this isn’t true. Much of the day is spent telling humorous stories, laughing at favorite memories, or attending the Mexico City Day of the Dead parade.
Throughout the entire year, planning for Mexico City Dia de los Muertos is undertaken. Gathering of goods to offer the dead takes place any time of year before they are presented in the beginning of November. One of the most common offerings during this time is beautiful orange Mexican marigolds, which bring a vibrancy to all of the graveyards. Toys are often brought for children, and quite comically, bottles of tequila are brought for adults. Traditional foods are also eaten on the holiday, including pan de muerto, or bread of the dead. In a celebratory spirit, the Mexico City Day of the Dead parade is a festive occasion with beautiful masks.
Mexico City Day of the Dead is also celebrated in people’s homes. Small shrines and altars are built within the home, and many candles are lit to honor the dead. Families make it a priority to pray and tell stories about the deceased as well. A common symbol of this holiday is the skull, or calavera, and sugar or chocolate skulls will be seen during the celebrations. Traditions are different across the country of Mexico, so if you are traveling during these two days, don’t be surprised to see vastly different types of worship. This holiday would be an interesting time to spend in Mexico, as it is a present-day celebration of an ancient tradition that has survived the test of time.