The Day of the Dead in Mexico, state by state
Day of the dead, a very lively tradition
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Day of the dead, a very lively tradition
"Death is democratic, because in the end, blonde, brunette, rich or poor, all people end up being a calavera", José Guadalupe Posada.
Keep tradition going! From north to south, from east to west, the Day of the Dead festival, which begins at the end of October until early November, reveres life. It is a time where the entire country is dressed in ‘papel picado’, flowers and colors to show the cultural richness of each State, municipality or city; reason why it’s easy to understand why since 2008 this national holiday is considered a Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Unmissable: The Festival of Skulls. Walk through the Cerro del Muerto.
Tradition: A great tribute to José Guadalupe Posadas, engraver, illustrator and caricaturist, originally from this region. He created the character of ""La Catrina"".
BAJA CALIFORNIA and BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
Unmissable: Festival of the Day of the Dead organized by houses of culture with dances, literature and artistic shows.
Tradition: Children dress up as some ""characters"" of the ""Halloween"" party due to the influence of foreign businesses but in several places they install altars in which the customs of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas and Michoacán stand out.
Unmissable: The Mayan rituals at Pomuch and La Feria del Pan.
Tradition: Most families open tombs and clean or change the clothes of their loved ones.
Unmissable: In the pantheons, the tombs are the base of the ofrendas (offerings). Visit San Juan Chamulla and the Festival of the Dead or K'anima.
Tradition: Mayans, Toques and Chiapanecos pay homage to the Holy Death. They practice rituals, eat and drink white ozol (popóhujcuy), pozol de cacao (cacáhujcuy), nonó (atole) and tequila. People also blanch the graves and place flowers and offerings on them.
Unmissable: The Historic Center of Chihuahua, where most of the inhabitants of the municipalities meet to tell legends and participate in a tour of Ofrendas.
Tradition: People decorate the altars with white tablecloths and give them color with papel picado and handcrafts from the region. They also write and read poems and compete for characterizations and offerings.
Unmissable: The Great Parade of Skulls, from Reforma Avenue to the Zocalo. Visit the special ofrendas in culture houses and museum esplanades.
Each delegation mounts an ofrenda in its esplanades. Visitors can celebrate walking, eating, dancing and visiting the special offerings in each museum. There are festivals, talks, film performances, workshops, storytelling functions, dances, altars, alebrijes, parades, concerts and bike rides.
Tradition: People believe that when the sun sets the souls of the dead are dispersed, in San Andrés Mixquic, Tláhuac, the town receives millions of visitors.
One of the attractions that foreigners usually visit at this time is the Cuemanco pier to listen to the legend of la Llorona.
Unmissable: Festival of the Day of the Dead or Ánimas del Desierto, in the Historic Center of Saltillo; and musical shows at the Alameda lake.
Tradition: Young people dress up as catrinas, skulls, devils, alebrijes or characters from the Mexican culture such as Frida Kahlo.
Unmissable: The All Saints Fair.
Tradition: As if it were a trade fair of the state, farmers, cooks and also the actors take the streets, palenques and theaters to show off their talent and offer it to the deceased.
Unmissable: The monumental altar, in the Plaza de las Armas.
Tradition: People go to the cemeteries, clean the graves and bring flowers. Families join to pray for the rest of their loved ones; they emphasize the big offerings, but with crafts in miniature. In schools and offices they also mount offerings.
Unmissable: The ""Alfeñique"" Fair and Festival, in Toluca.
In Portales de Toluca, sugar takes shape in figures they call: ""alfeñique"" (the technique used to make the famous sugar skulls) and they also exhibit and sell them so visitors can enjoy them and be a part of this artistic and cultural celebration
The Night of the Dead Festival is also held at the Xochitla ecological park.
Tradition: The nocturnal tours in pantheons of the State are the favorite activity of the tourists and inhabitants who prepare the legends to captivate the lovers of this festivity.
In the churches, choirs and even symphonic orchestras sing and play special numbers to honor life.
Unmissable: The Festival of La Calaca, in San Miguel de Allende that lasts four days.
Tradition: Faith is based on the attributes of the four elements of nature: fire, water, wind and earth, which together will make the passage of souls easier. These elements stand out in the offerings, exhibitions and parades in the state of Guanajuato.
Unmissable: Visit the tombs and altars of the Nahuas indigenous towns, in Coatepec Costales, Teloloapan. There are dances in the atriums of the churches.
Tradition: Death is the continuation of life and people celebrate it with the ""devils dance"" and devil masks. They emphasize the refreshments, cigars and alcohol in the altars, as well as large frames with photos of the deceased.
Unmissable: The parades, dances and immense exhibitions of altars in Xantolo. They also carry out offerings and characterization contests.
Tradition: People tour the graves and hold a wake over the loved ones in the pantheons.
Unmissable: Variety of cultural and artistic activities in Amatitán, Autlán, Tala and Tequila; and the Festival of the Day of the Dead, in the Municipal Pantheon of Amatitán.
Tradition: It is increasingly common for new generations to adopt the tradition of making altars and also to characterize themselves as catrines and catrinas. There are also exhibitions created by plastic and creative artists from each municipality.
Unmissable: The Island of Janitzio, in the lake of Patzcuaro; and the towns of Yunuén, La Pacanda and Urandén.
Tradition: Candles, and flowers float on the lake, giving an unparalleled visual spectacle as well as sharing the Dance of the Fishermen. The silence of the visitors stands out as a sign of respect for the deceased.
One of the busiest pantheons is in Tzurumútaro, Pátzcuaro. Even the names of each site are exquisitely attractive to visitors. People have lunch or dinner near the graves, because it is believed that they accompany the dead.
Unmissable: The altars in Xoxocotla; the procession in Ocotepec; the hanging offerings in Coatetelco, Miacatlán.
Tradition: In some places families leave home so the souls of their beloved ones can occupy all the space by visiting the space and the altar"".
Unmissable: Contests of altars, in the communities. Ofrendas dedicated to historical figures.
Tradition: It might seem common to mention the tradition of making altars, but each region has its own. They are also authentic here where the inhabitants make representations and papel picado and sugar skulls full of color. Families make wreaths for their deceased.
Unmissable: The endless display of altars in the streets of Santiago, Nuevo León. The stairways of the churches that are dressed with illuminated offerings.
Tradition: People don extraordinary makeup to go out to the squares to dance. Catrines and catrinas of all styles frame this festivity that has no equal.
Unmissable: The Festival of the Dead, in San Pablo Villa de Mitla.
Tradition: People draw a cross and rub it with ""holy water"". They mourn the deceased in pantheons such as Mictláncíhuatl and San Sebastián.
Unmissable: The majestic offerings that mount in Huaquechula.
Tradition: People try to improve the ofrendas every year, and change its elements, dishes, colors and crafts that compose them to keep the expectation in the visitors.
Unmissable: The party and festival in each square that surprises with the showiness and joy of visitors and indigenous communities, which show the cultural roots of the Otomíes and Chichimecas.
Tradition: People go to churches and chapels to pray for the deceased.
Unmissable: The Festival of Life and Death Traditions, of Xcaret.
Tradition: Artistic groups of the Mayan zone share legends, stories, dances and rituals dedicated to the deceased faithful, in 14 simultaneous forums of this park, in Cancun-Riviera Maya.
SAN LUIS POTOSI
Unmissable: The Xantolo, which honors the dead.
Tradition: All the guests to the region are welcomed with flowers, dances and songs.
Unmissable: The Mayo-Yoreme ritual, in the municipalities of El Fuerte, Choix, Guasave, Sinaloa de Leyva and Ahome. The offerings in the esplanade of the Angela Peralta Theater.
Tradition: People walk the alleys to the rhythm of the dancers and fireworks. They pray and the Sinaloan band play music.
Unmissable: The parties and ""novenarios"" (prayers) in the churches. The books with names of the deceased that are placed in the community altars. Visit the Valle del Mayo portal, in the municipalities of Álamos, Quiriego, Navojoa, Etchojoa and Huatabampo.
Tradition: The altars in the churches stand out for canvases or black tablecloths with huge sculptures of saints, virgins and flowers. The songs and the preparations of the dishes are unique.
Unmissable: Listen to the prayers. Taste the typical sweets of this date.
Tradition: Families keep silence and streets free for ""the passage of the souls"" of their deceased. The silence and the time of prayer mostly reign.
Unmissable: The markets and the streets that are filled with color by the altars in the houses. They usually throw fireworks.
Tradition: Since the times of the Chichimecas, in Tamaulipas they have preserved very unique handcrafts on altars to their dead. They are colorful and go with hand-embroidered tablecloths.
Unmissable: The All Saints' Day. Visit the San Juan Ixtenco Cemetery. The abundant offerings in Totolac. The night ceremony in Tetehitec.
Tradition: People preserve the prehispanic and Spanish roots and they display extensive floral ""mats"" made with natural flowers: They make crosses with branches and thin trunks. They adorn the tombs with white earth of Tiztlan.
Unmissable: Thousands of people gather in all the regions of the entity, where traditional celebrations are held. The Mictlán Festival, in the Bicentennial Park. The Fiestas del Ninín, in Papantla.
Tradition: People make clay skulls and the smell of copal and flowers is nice and strong at every step. Families place pictures, flowers and favorite dishes of the deceased.
Unmissable: The celebration known as Hanal Pixán or Cómida de las Ánimas, strongly dedicated to the minors that passed away. The ritual to honor adults is called: Hanal Pixanoob.
Tradition: People create altars lit only by candles. The trees also give shelter to offerings or altars.
Unmissable: Visit the Dolores Pantheon and the Rafael Coronel Museum.
Tradition: People take music to the graves, in addition to flowers and food. The children ask for ""calaverita"", money or sweets, in a kind of piggy-shaped carts or calacas. They celebrate popular night parties in neighborhoods and museums.