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Mexico’s Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, at first glance sounds the same as Halloween or All Hollows’ Eve in the United States, but in fact, they’re quite different – just as the two cultures who celebrate these holidays have fundamentally different views about death.
Day of the Dead in Mexico celebrates the life and death of their deceased loved ones in a spirit of joy, fellowship, and humor (reciting “calaveritas,” or little skulls, which are short, satirical poems about them). Americans view Halloween as a more mischievous celebration about the darker side of death. Both do believe, however, that the boundary between the living and the dead is blurred on these holidays for intercommunication.
|Halloween||Dia de los Muertos
Consider taking part in this delightful Mexico tradition, and celebrate the lives of your dearly departed on a vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula. Celebrations begin the last week in October through the early days of November. The official Day of the Dead holiday for children is recognized on November 1st; for adults, on November 2nd.
Interpretations of Dia de los Muertos vary in different Mexico states. In the state of Yucatan, it’s called Hanal Pix’an, a Mayan version of the Day of the Dead, which means “feast for the souls.” Still, the basic theme throughout Mexico is the same: the dead are welcomed back into their homes via an offering (“ofrenda”) of traditional foods such as bread of the dead (“pan de muerto”), celebratory flowers such as marigolds (“flor de cempasuchitl” also called “flor de muerto”), and ornaments; by visiting and decorating their grave sites; and by dancing, singing, and otherwise enjoying each other’s company.
In Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the Day of the Dead celebrations are visible all over town at restaurants, bars, and hotels, but one very special celebration takes place at Xcaret. Their annual Life and Death Mexican Traditions Festival, features traditional variations in Mexico’s regional Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
On October 30th through November 2nd, from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 pm., Xcaret shares the culture, history, food, music, dance, and religious ceremony given for the dearly departed.
Enjoy this traditional Mexican holiday at the end of October and early November with a visit to Cancun or the Riviera Maya. Join in the Day of the Dead festivities with colorful decorations, costumes, tasty treats, and music to wake the dead!
About the Author
Christina Famiglietti is a professional writer and editor with experience in various industries. Her most recent passion is the Mexican Caribbean, where she lives and is inspired to write about her beloved Mexico — its nature, culture, travel, and tourism.