Día de Muertos Mexico

Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos

The Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most beloved holidays. It’s a festival full of vibrant colors and ancient traditions, which runs from October 31 to November 2. The meaning of the Day of the Dead for Mexicans is deep and encompasses culture, tradition, community and celebration dating back 3,000 years, according to Villa del Palmar. As part of the tradition, the dead are joyfully remembered and their lives celebrated.

After someone died, the Aztecs believed that souls entered an afterlife that was not far from the real world. Souls were able to remain close to their families, and at the beginning of each summer, families established shrines to honor their departed loved ones.

The celebration is renowned in Mexico and the world. Locals and tourists travel and visit Mexico during this time to be a part of the incredible festivities.

The Secretary of Tourism of the Government of Mexico, Miguel Torruco Marqués, has announced that the upcoming Día de Muertos festivities in Mexico, spanning from October 27 to November 2, 2023, are projected to generate an impressive 41,198 million pesos in economic benefit from the consumption of tourist services. This estimation was reported in a press release by the Ministry of Tourism on October 22, 2023.



During this period, an influx of 2,367,000 tourists is expected to stay in hotels, representing a 1.4% increase compared to the same period in 2019. The economic benefit from lodging is anticipated to reach 3,751 million pesos, with a nationwide hotel occupancy rate of 58.3%.




Prominent events and traditions, including the Desfile de Día de Muertos and the Alumbrada en Mixquic in Mexico City, as well as the Desfile de Canoas and illuminated altars in Janitzio, Michoacán, are highlighted as some of the most representative attractions.



Notably, 1,749,000 of the estimated tourists staying in hotels are expected to be national, accounting for 73.9% of the total, while 619,000 are projected to be international visitors, constituting 26.1% of the total.



Additionally, it is anticipated that 2,690,000 national tourists will opt for alternative forms of accommodation such as visiting family and friends or staying in second homes.



The total number of national tourists traveling throughout Mexico during the Day of the Dead festivities is expected to reach 4,440,000. Furthermore, it is estimated that an additional 310,000 tourists, both national and international, will choose shared economy accommodation options.



Miguel Torruco Marqués emphasizes that the Day of the Dead festivities play a pivotal role in attracting tourists to Mexico. Día de Muertos was inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2003).

The festivities commemorate the temporary return to Earth of deceased relatives and loved ones, including pets. The celebration takes place each year at the end of October to the beginning of November.

UNESCO describes Intangible Heritage as providing communities with a feeling of identity and continuity. The objective of including the tradition on the list is to make the public aware of the importance of oral and intangible heritage and the need to safeguard it.

The recognition encourages countries to create national inventories and adopt legal measures to protect the tradition and encourage the participation of artists and performers in the definition and revitalization of their intangible heritage.




Some of the standout activities in various Mexican destinations include the Day of the Dead Parade in Mexico City, scheduled for November 4th, commencing from the Puerta de los Leones in Chapultepec and concluding at the Capital Zócalo. In San Andrés Mixquic, Mexico City, the traditional Alumbrada event is a unique experience with the only illumination being provided by candles and lanterns in the cemetery.

In Janitzio, Michoacán, one of the most iconic Day of the Dead festivities is the Canoe Parade with illuminated butterfly nets, accompanied by candle-lit altars in the cemetery, where families await the arrival of their loved ones.

Other notable traditions include those in Oaxaca, where souls of purgatory are represented through processions of people dressed as characters like catrinas or calacas, and in Aguascalientes, the Skull Festival on San Marcos Island, which is renowned for being the birthplace of the artist José Guadalupe Posada, the creator of the iconic Calavera Garbancera, also known as “La Catrina.”





Other well-known ceremonies during the Day of the Dead festivities include Xantolo or the Festival of Souls in San Luis Potosí, Hanal Pixán in Yucatán, and the tradition of Pomuch in Campeche, which involves exhuming the deceased to clean their bones.



In accordance with expectations for this period, the projected occupancy percentages for selected centers are as follows: Los Cabos (77.2%), Cancun (74.3%), Puerto Vallarta (71.5%), Puebla (60.7%), Querétaro (57.7%), San Miguel de Allende (54.7%), Acapulco (49.4%), San Cristóbal de las Casas (43%), Villahermosa (45.2%), Zacatecas (38%), and Tuxtla Gutiérrez (34.9%).



Of note is the increase in occupancy for destinations where the Day of the Dead festival holds special significance: Oaxaca (73%), Morelia (68.1%), Mexico City (67.4%), and Aguascalientes (62.5%). These 15 selected centers collectively account for 45% of the rooms in the centers monitored by DataTur.





The Secretary of Tourism underscores that the Day of the Dead festivities play a crucial role in stimulating tourist activity across 270 locations with a unique cultural celebration. This not only contributes to the economic well-being of these communities but also aligns with the vision of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who sees tourism as a tool for social reconciliation.

Day of the Dead Ofrenda

Every year, Mexican families come together to create the Day of the Dead ofrenda. Milenio explains the tradition.

While some families traditionally make their offering on October 31, it is believed that a few days prior, special beings return from the afterlife to visit their families.

The first day the offering is October 27, dedicated to the pets that have passed away.

What should be included in the Day of the Dead ofrenda?

The cempasuchil flower is a must, as it helps guide the deceased to the ofrenda with its fragrance and vibrant color. Its name originates from Nahuatl and means “the flower of 20 petals.”

Candles, or veladoras, should be white, symbolizing the purity of the departed. Their light acts as a beacon to guide the souls to their ancestral home and aids in their return to the afterlife.

Sugar skulls are representative of the departed souls for whom the offering is prepared, and they should bear the names of the deceased on their foreheads. It’s believed that the essence of these sugar skulls nourishes the souls after the celebration.



Photographs and offerings are dedicated to loved ones who are no longer with us, so a photo of the deceased should be placed on the ofrenda.

Water quenches the thirst of the departed, purifies their souls, and fortifies them for their journey. Papel picado, apart from adding color to the ofrenda, represents the air and is one of the four essential elements that must always be present in the offering.

Incense or copal is used to ward off evil spirits, ensuring that the souls of our loved ones can enter our homes without hindrance. Salt prevents the souls from becoming corrupted on their return journey and allows them to come back next year. It also aids in keeping them cool during their travels.

The bread of the dead represents the deceased, with its origins dating back to pre-Hispanic times when offerings were made to the gods every time a person was sacrificed.

The cross was introduced by Spanish evangelizers and was incorporated to the veneration of the departed.


Soledad Quartucci | CEO/Founder, Latina Republic

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