Millions of visitors, who are expected to celebrate this millennial tradition, can look forward to many colorful experiences and events. Mexico City’s Day of the Dead celebrations will kick off for the third consecutive time on October 27 with a spectacular parade.
Mexico prepares for the Day of the Dead – inviting visitors from around the world to witness this extraordinary holiday on the ground. The entire country, from the island of Janitzio in Michoacan to the cities of Chiapas to the great Zócalo in Mexico City, will be adorned with symbols of death, flowers and signs of transience, and awaits millions of visitors attending one of the most spectacular festivals ever want to participate.
The Day of the Dead , designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2008, is an unforgettable experience for visitors and locals alike. The custom is celebrated from the end of October to the first week of November and revolves around the heritage of various pre-Hispanic cultures in combination with the celebration of the Catholic Day of All Saints. According to popular belief, the deceased return from the afterlife each year at the end of the harvest season to pay a visit to their relatives and celebrate their reunion with favorite foods and drinks.
“This tradition has now merged with today’s popular culture and has become a festival for everyone, and nowhere else can visitors experience such a colorful, magical and surreal celebration,” said Hector Flores Santana , CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board (MTB). “Our cultural offer is one of the reasons Mexico ranks sixth today in the world’s most visited countries. The Day of Death celebrations honor our past, our ancestors, and are a lasting invitation for anyone to visit us and discover why Mexico is a world of its own. ”
Celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico is one of the most important in the world, attracting more than 7.5 million international travelers every year who want to experience the cultural and culinary traditions of the country. The different customs and traditions can be experienced during the holidays both in larger cities and in the countryside, but are mainly concentrated in the regions of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato , Michoacan, Oaxaca, Puebla , San Luis Potosi and Mexico City.
With a length of more than one kilometer and the states of Aguascalientes, Oaxaca and San Luis Potosi as special guests, the traditional Day of the Dead Parade will take place for the third time in a row on Saturday, October 27, 2018 in Mexico City. Survival-sized skulls, carriages and katrins will pass through the Paseo de la Reforma from the monument of the Estela de Luz to the Zócalo in the capital, where huge offerings will be offered to the deceased. There are also free concerts featuring rock, jazz, blues and traditional Mexican music.
Last year, more than a million people visited the parade, which was made possible by over 1,500 volunteers. Many of the volunteers had come for the festivities from the more remote regions of the country or even from abroad. And also this year the crowd should be big; nearly 2,000 organizers and volunteers are expected.
The day of the dead beyond Mexico
As part of the MTB and SECTUR joint promotions, the motto “Heart of Mexico ” has been used toraise awareness ofthe millennial celebration outside of Mexico’s borders in various cities in North America and Europe-celebrities such as El Charro, Frida and Diego visited several landmarks, including Central Park in New York City , the CN Tower in Toronto , the Victory Column in Berlin and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as part of the”Heart of Mexico”sees itself as an invitation to the inhabitants of these cities to experience Mexico in all its diversity and to experience locally what it means to participate in the diverse customs of this unique tradition on the Day of the Dead itself.
On November 2 and 3, residents and visitors to New York’s American Museum of Natural History will have a chance to get a taste of local celebrations. Together with the state of Oaxaca and the MTB, the museum will exhibit various altars devoted to extinct animal species, as well as a traditional handicraft market with dances and craft demonstrations.
More about the Day of the Dead
In Mexico, death is considered part of the life cycle and has been celebrated since pre-Columbian times. For example, in Aztec mythology the deceased made a long journey before reaching Mictlán, the land of the dead. The various customs and rituals associated with the celebration make the Day of the Dead as unique as any other holiday in the world. Families build altars in their homes and offer to the souls of their loved ones food and objects that have a special memory value for them. The typical objects of such an altar include the characteristic Cempasuchil flower and the delicious Pan de Muertos.
The traditions can vary depending on the region. Some of them are only live in certain Mexican states and cities:
Year after year, Aguascalientes organizes the Calaveras Festival, dedicated to the artist José Guadalupe Posada , the creator of the famous “Catrina” – a symbol of the day of death.
Guanajuato hosts the famous Catrinas Parade, which always takes place on the 1st of November. For the festivities, people choose a specific theme that changes from year to year and dresses up accordingly.
One of the biggest festivals in Veracruz is the Mictlán Festival, which welcomes visitors with musical performances and artists.
In Oaxaca, residents are building a “Plaza de la Muerte”, where tourists can browse through the handmade, regional product range made by artisans specially for the occasion, with traditional comparsas (singing groups) performing for more than 20 hours to celebrate traditional “Muerteadas”.
In San Luis Potosí, the Xantolo is the most important festival in the region. On November 1, there will be a vigil with prayers, and on November 2, it is customary in the indigenous communities to offer offerings to the gods and adorn the graves with flowers for the souls who, according to regional belief, spend a whole month dwell on the earth.
The island of Janitzo in Michoacan honors the “Angelitos” – deceased children – in a nocturnal procession on November 1. Canoes, which are accompanied by musical accompaniment with countless candles and carry delicious dishes and drinks, welcome those from the empire to return to the dead.
In Mexico City, millions of visitors gather in the Pantheon of San Andrés Mixquic to receive the souls of the dead at sunset. Also popular is Xochimilco , a production by Llorona, the crying woman; a legend that attracts locals and tourists year after year.
Mexico in 6th place in the world’s most traveled countries Celebrations
like the Day of the Dead have made Mexico one of the most popular destinations in international tourism. In 2017, the country recorded 39.3 million international visitors, ranking sixth of the world’s most visited countries, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). 637,700 national and international flights landed in Mexico last year, bringing 68 million people to the country. The number of registered flights thus increased by 2.2 percent compared to the previous year, that of passengers by 9.3 percent.
More information about the Day of the Dead can be found at: https://www.visitmexico.com/day-of-the-dead .
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