¡Después de 3 años en México, finalmente experimenté el Día de Muertos! (After 3 years in Mexico, I finally experienced Day of the Dead!). If you’re not familiar with this traditional Mexican holiday, go ahead and read this post first. Today I’ll write about my experience celebrando el Día de Muertos en México (celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico).
Día de Muertos en CDMX
Some of the best places to celebrate Day of the Dead include the states of Oaxaca and Michoacan. We decided to experience the holiday in the capital. El Día de Muertos es muy festivo en la Ciudad de México (Day of the Dead is very festive in Mexico City).
Hay muchas calaveras y alebrijes en el Paseo de la Reforma (There are many skulls and alebrijes on Paseo de la Reforma). A calavera is a skull that’s an important symbol of the holiday. People make edible ones out of sugar, called calaveras de alfeñique, and there are also decorative ones used in ofrendas (more on those later).
After a few days in the Condesa area, we moved a bit further south. Coyoacán es un barrio histórico en la Ciudad de México (Coyoacan is an historic neighborhood in Mexico City). It’s famous for being the home of Frida Kahlo, who lived in La Casa Azul (the Blue House) with her husband Diego Rivera. The two had a very troubled relationship, but they live on as Mexico’s most famous artists.
Coyoacán is a great place to celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico City. Take a stroll around the Jardín Centenario (Centennial Garden) and you’ll see some pretty amazing ofrendas. These are elaborate altars that people put together to honor the deceased.
Ofrendas are usually composed of flowers, incense, pictures, candles, and things that the deceased enjoyed eating and drinking. The most common flowers are cempasúchil, which are also known as Flor de Muerto (Flower of the Dead) or Mexican marigolds in English.
Mucha gente va al Zócalo para ver las grandes ofrendas (Many people go to the Zocalo to see the big ofrendas). There are also people dressed up in traditional indigenous clothing performing cleansing ceremonies and dancing. It really is a festive time to be in the city!
These days, there’s also a huge desfile (parade) for Day of the Dead. This didn’t exist until a few years ago after the James Bond film “Spectre” depicted a parade in Mexico City. They decided to give it a try the next year, and it’s now a major attraction for both locals and tourists alike.
All in all, I really enjoyed celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico City. It really is an eye-opening experience seeing how joyous and festive a holiday about death is. This isn’t so much about mourning the dead as it is celebrating the lives they led.
To see more of what Día de Muertos en CDMX looks like, check out this short highlight video I put together:
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