Each year, people in Mexico gather together to celebrate the Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. This holiday and its celebrations are unique to Mexico. It is actually celebrated over more than one day as everyone gathers together in different ways to remember friends and families that have died. This holiday is also famous for the colorful, yet gothic style art, costumes, decorations, and imagery. While the Day of the Dead is celebrated all over Mexico and by those of Mexican descent everywhere, especially in the United States, if you want to experience this cultural tradition firsthand, you should travel to Mazatlán. This historic city celebrates The Day of the Dead like nowhere else. Just take a look…
What is The Day of The Dead?
If the Day of the Dead sounds creepy or sad to you, you are wrong. This is not a scary holiday, and it is not a sad day either. It is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd every year in central and southern Mexico. The Day of the Dead is a day to honor loved ones who have passed. It is more celebrating and memorializing than mourning. The two days have different meanings. On November 1st, it is believed that the gates of heaven open so the spirits of children who died can visit with their families. On November 2nd, adults who have passed are then allowed to visit for the day.
Families honor the dead and welcome their spirits on these two days with elaborate altars decorated with careful and colorful details. Offerings are left for the dead, including food. Tamales and special breads are very popular food offerings. Sugar skulls are also very popular and are actually given as gifts to the living. Altars and items like sugar skulls are colorful in order to celebrate life and vitality. Alcohol is used to toast the arrival of ancestors. If you want to honor a loved one during the Day of the Dead, toast with the favorite drink of that person.
There are other symbols you see a lot in Day of the Dead decorations and altars. Monarch butterflies are popular because they are believed to be the spirits of ancestors, because those butterflies arrive in Mexico in the fall. Dogs are a common symbol because they are believed to be guides to our final resting places in the afterlife. Delicate paper decorations called papel picado symbolize that life is truly fragile. Altars are personal to each family, full of details like photographs that make them so special.
Why Celebrate in Mazatlán?
The Day of the Dead celebration in Mazatlán is truly special. For both days of this holiday, you can join the locals in Machado Square for one of the most major cultural celebrations in the city all year. There are parades, music, performances, treats, and more.
Throughout the main streets of the historic center of the city, you can walk around and view the altars created to honor the ancestors of the people of Mazatlán. Skeleton masks and intricate face painting must be experienced by everyone.
When you have visited all the areas of the historic district, more excitement awaits you in the Municipal Center of Arts and Angela Peralta Theater. There are celebrations and performances all night long here.
The openness and welcome received by tourists makes Mazatlán the city to visit if you are coming to celebrate The Day of the Dead. Seriously, everyone is welcome here. They want you to join them as they honor their ancestors and celebrate life and the afterlife.
We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into this beautiful celebration and cultural experience. If you are ready to plan a trip to Mazatlán in the fall for The Day of the Dead, visit Go Mazatlan for more information.
Want to see more of the beauty awaiting you in Mazatlán? Check out Magical Images of Mazatlán.
Photo Credits: EveryAvenueGirl