Is there for Mexicans a date more important in the year than the Day of the Dead? The variety of events, celebrations, decorations and offerings can answer this question.
Year after year, Mexico prepares for the arrival of the deceased who, on November the 2nd, come to the feast that their loved ones offer them. Large altars rise in houses and public squares, full of food, fruit, “bread of the dead”, drinks, candies, flowers and everything that the dead once enjoyed in life.
It is true that for the rest of the world these practices are unconventional because only Mexicans hold parties dedicated to death. However, throughout the country people have found a way to live their festivities, integrating the curious tourists who do not know how to spend these days without fear or at least feel uncomfortable.
Here we show you some options in Mexico City where you can experience this tradition up close, and see for yourself that the Day of the Dead is full of life for Mexicans
This neighbourhood outside the city, is probably the most emblematic place to celebrate this date. For its dedication to the Day of the Dead, It has become the greatest exponent of the festivity in Mexico City.
Its streets and centers are covered with coloured papers and are flooded with the smell of the cempasúchil flower. What most attracts locals and tourists is possibly “La Alumbrada”, a party in the cemetery where the lights are turned off and people fill the graves of their relatives with candles, fresh flowers and infinite ornaments. Then, people can stay up late and celebrate until dawn. | Time from Room Mate Valentina: 45 minutes by taxy.
It is about a walk on “Paseo de la Reforma”, the most important avenue in the city, in which more than 30,000 people are involved, characterized as “catrinas”. With white faces, black eyes and colorful ornaments on the body, they head from the Tower of Light to Downtown, while they perform choreographies to the rhythm of the drums and trumpets.
It is a unique parade, in which the spectators are invited to participate in the tour, while admiring the monumental skulls that rise above the crowd. | Time to start point from Room Mate Valentina: 12 minutes by walking.
The most iconic thing of the Day of the Dead are the offerings or altars that are placed to welcome the deceased. Fruit, water, food, tequila, candies, candles, bread and cempasúchil flowers are some of the elements that are ever-present. The idea that the dead come back hungry after a long trip, motivates people to put great delicacies on these altars to receive their loved ones in a big way.
In the public squares of the city, famous designers, architects and dependencies of culture, contribute to the assembly of these offerings. To mention some places we can talk about Downtown, Santo Domingo Square, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Dolores Olmedo Museum.
EXHIBITIONS AND LEGENDS
Mexico City is known for its events and exhibitions, and on this special date it is common to see how the main avenues are decorated with ornaments related to the Day of the Dead. Skulls, catrinas, cempasúchil flowers and posters adorning the entire city from mid of October to the beginning of November.
Something that also characterizes Mexican people are their myths and legends, which representations are made of. One of the favorites in the city is the staging of “La Llorona” on the canals of Xochimilco, which is shown at night, instilling fear in the spectators.
In Room Mate Valentina, we understand how important it is to honour those who passed away. Year after year, we prepare an offering in the Room Mate style and dedicate it to important people in the history of our country.
This year, our offering is dedicated to the great painter Frida Kahlo, and It will be adorning the lobby until November 6th.
Surely, you won’t want to head home without a selfie with It. Will you?
By Edgar Fuentes (AUTHOR)
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