Tulum celebrates Mexico’s Day of the Dead
While all cultures have their traditions surrounding death and the deceased, Mexico’s Day of the Dead Celebration, or Dia de los Muertos, is arguably the country’s most important holiday. Falling on November 1 and 2, this celebration marks a happy time of the year when the living feel closest to their beloved family and friends who have passed away.
With its roots thousands of years old in Pre-Hispanic indigenous traditions, Dia de los Muertoscombines ancient rites with Catholic traditions brought by Mexico’s conquistadors in the 1500s to arrive at today’s present day festival of life and death.
Here are some interesting facts about Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration:
– The two Days of the Dead, Nov. 1 and 2, coincide with the Catholic All Saints and All Souls days. Traditionally, November 1 is the day for honoring dead infants and children and November 2 is the day for honoring dead adults.
– Many Mexicans create altars in their homes to honor the lives of their deceased loved ones. These colorful altars include photos of the dead, candles, flowers–especially the marigold, which is considered the traditional “flower of the dead,” and items the loved ones might have enjoyed during life, such as alcohol, cigarettes, favorite foods, etc.
– People visit the graves of their deceased, cleaning the graves and setting up small altars with offerings to honor their loved ones. In many areas of Mexico, it is common for families to spend the night in the cemetery, celebrating “with” their loved ones, whom they believe return at this time of the year to enjoy the fiesta with music, food, and funny storytelling.
– Public celebrations in Mexican towns can take the form of parades, street parties, face-painting (skulls/skeletons), and other Day of the Dead festivals
– Brightly colored skulls made of sugar are made or purchased, then placed on altars or exchanged, along with other sweets. These sugar skulls have become synonymous with this important Mexican holiday.
Some cultures might at first find Mexico’s celebration of death to be strange, but when closely examined, it seems clear that Mexico’s loving remembrance of and close relationship with their deceased loved ones is a beautiful celebration of life–that death is not something to be feared, but simply a continuation of the lovely cycle of life. In Mexico, it is comforting to think that the dead are not ever really gone, they have just passed onto another plane and are still remembered in the hearts of the living.
Visitors to Tulum hotels will find multiple opportunities to witness some Day of the Dead traditions. Though visiting a cemetery would be poor form, local nature park Xcaret puts on one of the most amazing Day of the Dead displays, including a very realistic reproduction of a traditional Mexican graveyard. Ask your reception staff for more information about Tulum and Riviera Maya Day of the Dead events.