The end of the year festivities are approaching and with them, one of the most popular in the world is the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, an ancestral tradition that is a fundamental part of Mexico and its culture.
For ancient and current Mexicans alike, honoring and remembering their ancestors and deceased is a sacred theme that combines Catholic tradition and pre-Hispanic mysticism, commemorating death as one more element of life and as a way of remembering and honoring loved ones.
Mexico City is home to numerous celebrations, but without a doubt one of the most essential is the Day of the Dead, since in recent years this festivity has become an important tourist attraction where the city receives travelers from all over the world. The world that witnesses colorful events, market stalls selling skulls made of sugar or chocolate, called alfeñiques, flower shops with windows full of freshly cut cempasúchiles and thousands of Mexican homes with altars and offerings honoring the memory of family, friends or even heroes of the homeland.
Day of the Dead activities in Mexico City
During the months of October and November, different events commemorate the dead, among them the “Great Day of the Dead Parade”, born in 2016 and inspired by the scenes of “Spectre”, the James Bond film shot in Mexico City, this show takes place on a route of 8. For 7 kilometers through the Paseo de la Reforma, one of the most important and emblematic avenues of the city designed during the Second Mexican Empire, the parade incorporates allegorical cars, the “Titans” which are puppets and giant skulls, battalions of catrinas and reapers, monumental balloons, groups of dancers and acrobats performing beautiful choreography accompanied by live music, alebrijes and mobile offerings. This great festival, besides being the most colored, is attended by more than 150,000 people, where you can feel the joy, live the Mexican traditions and the representation of the indigenous peoples
Still in Mexico City but in the office of the mayor of Tláhuac, there is a small town called Mixquic, which means “where there is mesquite”, one of the most visited places these days since its celebration adheres to the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, where the city honors and respects the dead, maintaining and transmitting the custom from generation to generation, it is also organized in conjunction with the municipal fair. On November 2, the “Alumbrada” is held, where thousands of candles illuminate the graves decorated with flowers.
Another great tradition is the Mega Ofrendas, a tradition that began in 1997 at the initiative of the student community and has become a festival with creative artistic proposals in which students and professors of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), considered one of the 100 best universities in the world, the second best in Latin America and the most prestigious in the country, participate; In this event, different faculties, schools, high schools and entities present and compete at the same time with offerings in the form of carpets made of sawdust, cempasúchil flowers, seeds and mandarins. Each year, about 1,500 students, workers and members of the student community present a theme representative of the country that serves as an axis in the design of the offerings, some of them have been: Movement of ’68, Mexican Muralism, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, among others, the result is more than 80 giant altars that any visitor can see and enjoy in the Plaza Santo Domingo in the historic center of the city.
If something distinguishes Mexico, it is the way in which its dead are honored, this tradition paints all the streets of the city with color, the houses place altars with the deceased’s favorite food, water and dead bread, they also put photographs and decorate with chopped paper and the representative cempasúchil flower, originally from Mexico, its name comes from the Nahuatl “Cempohualxochitl” which means “twenty flowers” or “several flowers” , the reason for its use comes from the ancestors who assimilated the yellow color of the flower with the sun, the tradition marks making paths with the cempasúchil flowers, from the main road to the altar of the house in order to guide the souls to the altars.
Decorating tombs, making altars on tombstones and the use of iconic elements such as “pan de muerto”,candles and flowers have great meaning for families because it is thought that they help guide the souls and walk on a good path. After the Death.
Why the importance of the Day of the Dead in Mexico City?
The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) declared this festivity as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008, due to its importance and meaning, since it is a traditional expression -contemporary and living at the same time-, inclusive, representative and community.
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead varies from state to state, from municipality to municipality and from town to town, however throughout the country it has the same principle, bringing families together to welcome their loved ones who return from beyond. .
The celebration of the Day of the Dead is a family tradition that is shared from generation to generation and that is worth preserving and being lived every year.