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Día de Muertos: A tour through tradition

Traditions are a big part of every culture but keeping them alive is what makes a culture survive. This past weekend at LatinX, we decided to take a tour of the colorful celebration of Día de Muertos.

Some of us grew up decorating altars and visiting the cemetery on November 2nd while others acknowledge the existence of the holiday but don’t take part in the tradition. Thankfully for the latter, Coco was created.

The Pixar movie did a great job depicting Mexico, the colors, the different family roles and personalities, but most importantly, it explained the meaning and value of celebrating Día de Muertos.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living – Marcus Aurelius”

Let’s keep celebrating the life of those who have gone before us. Remembering and celebrating with them keeps the soul alive and our hearts happy. Watch our quick tour through the states of Queretaro, Guanajuato and Sonora. All three locations showed great enthusiasm for this prehispanic tradition. There were slight variations but the heartfelt celebrations could be equally heard all around.

 

 

Highlights

  1. Even though it is an American tradition, in central Mexico, Halloween overlaps with Día de Muertos. It is celebrated for three days straight. Kids, and grown ups, go trick or treating from October 31st to November 2nd.
  2. For the last three years, on November 1st and 2nd, people have been painting their faces like the “Catrina” as part of the celebration. Some people do Catrina makeup on just one side of their face as a symbol of the living and the dead.
  3. Pixar’s Coco significantly increased international tourism in Mexico for Día de Muertos.
  4. Due to the U.S. border proximity, the Northern part of Mexico celebrates Halloween more publicly than Mexican tradition of Día de Muertos, but this year, Pixar’s Coco changed that. Coco has inspired Mexicans to celebrate November 2nd in full color.
  5. Children are taking the initiative to make altars for their “abuelas” and other relatives.
  6. Altars were dedicated to both, Mexican and American, influential characters.
  7. Parades for Día de Muertos only happen in the Central Mexico. According to Union CDMX, approximately 1,200 volunteers registered for this year’s grand parade in Mexico City.

Día de Muertos Mexico City parade with over 1,200 volunteers. Image: VisitMexico.com

Sounds interesting, right?

If you want to learn more about this beautiful prehispanic tradition, set some time aside and watch Coco. It will be the most engaging and representative way of absorbing the message and value behind this tradition / ritual. Another option is waiting for our tour next year. We might be visiting the cemetery at San Andrés Mixquic and the island of Janitzio, Michoacan. Stay tuned!

 

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