Mexico‘s Day of the Dead festival is a fiesta for the senses. With carnivalesque street parties, foodie rituals, folk dances and skull-laden processions, one thing’s for sure; revellers here know how to throw a good party. Our fellow Rickshawian, Hannah, jetted off to join the fun for herself. Read on to find out more about Day of the Dead and where to experience it.
I’d heard of the Day of the Dead, but it wasn’t until I’d sat down to watch the animated film, Coco, that I began to understand what it was all about beyond the sugar skulls and facepaint. For me, the film beautifully captured the spirit of Dia de los Muertos and its deep roots in family connection. I was so inspired that I made Mexico my next destination and was lucky enough to stay in the cultural hub of Oaxaca to experience the festival for myself. But Oaxaca’s not the only place to go to get involved in the party. Here are some of the top places to go in Mexico for Day of the Dead.
Oaxaca is considered by many to be the ultimate place to witness Day of the Dead. Pronounced ‘wah-ha-kah,’ Oaxaca is both a city and state in the south-east of the country. With UNESCO status for Human World Heritage, it’s home to some of the strongest cultures in the whole of the country.
The main zócalo (town square) is lined with trees and a patchwork of marigold flower beds, set beside an impressive church, artisan markets and some wonderful galleries and museums.
If you arrive a little ahead of Day of the Dead, you can head to the tourist centre at the main zócalo to pick up a schedule of Dia de los Muertos activities. Events usually kick off from the 31st October up until the 2nd or 3rd of November and include a whole host of things to keep you entertained; from art exhibitions to musical performances.
During the evenings of the 1st and 2nd of November, the city is filled with raucous parades, which you can either experience on street level (if you don’t mind skeleton-clad crowds!) or from atop a rooftop bar (highly recommended). Wander the candle-lit cemetery of Panteon General, muse at the tongue-in-cheek skeleton figures lining the streets and drool over the loaves of the pan de muertos at the market.