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How is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Michoacán?

Day of the dead, a very lively tradition

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Michoacán: a land that honors nature and celebrates the origin and the passage of life. The Day of the Dead, the “Night of the Dead” here, is unique as it is a mixture of cultures and their interpretation and celebration of death. 

The "Night of the Dead" is meant to honor and seek peace for those who have passed and at the same time is a carnival of colors and aromas.

Although the focal point of the celebration takes place in and around Lake Patzcuaro and Janitzio Island, the entire state of Michoacán celebrates on November 1 when the souls of the departed are attracted by the love of their families, the aromas and lights of the party as they return. 

Unique aromas and the the cempasuchil’s characteristic color take over the festivities as families and friends come together to reminisce, make promises and tell anecdotes of the deceased. The celebration is also a time to delight the palate with pan de muerto, chocolate and sugar skulls.



The "Night of the Dead" is still a somber moment. The sound of the church bells marks the beginning. Residents and guests leave their homes and come together, many carrying baskets full of sweets, bread and fruit to place on the graves of the deceased.

The weather is cold but the prayer is warm as they cry, sing and embrace through the night. It is only on November 2nd that the souls of the dead depart once more. 

In the islands that surround the lake of Patzcuaro, Yunuén, Urandén and La Pacanda, the rituals are shaped by dances, including the dance of the fishermen as they throw their butterfly nets as a souvenir to the dead.

Nature is very much a part of Michoacán. In pre-Hispanic times, the deceased were worshiped in August during harvesting season where corn, pumpkin, chickpea, and beans were harvested. 

Michoacán is also home of the monarch butterflies. According to popular believe, butterflies carry the spirit of the departed on their wings, helping them return and visit the world of the living with each migration. 

Morelia, Uruapan, Janitzio, Tzintzuntzan, Quiroga, everything is territory of symbolism that is worth appreciating in a responsible way, respecting traditions and taking care of the environment.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Health, where they stage: "Don Juan Tenorio.”
Walk the handicrafts market, during the day and night.
The municipal pantheon of Tzintzuntzan.
Night of the Dead Tour in Patzcuaro

How tourists also join tradition by bringing offerings of bread, flowers and candles, in a respectful way.

The carnitas, fish, mole, enchiladas, and the Tarascan soup can be found in docks, markets and restaurants of the squares.

The hotels, the shops and the surroundings of the squares are decorated in this tradition. It is worth staying in Patzcuaro and requesting rooms with a panoramic view of this Magical Town.

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