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Colors in Mexico Take On a Different Dimension During El Día de Muertos

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Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City, Mexico
Credit: Kristina Bakrevski

Mexico is a place bursting with color everywhere you go, but, colors in Mexico take on a different dimension during El Día de Muertos, our Day of the Dead celebrations. Colors come from beyond to illuminate the earth and show the path to the faithful departed to join the living and celebrate together life and death.

We say, “Nada puede vivir sin la muerte, pero nada puede morir sin la vida.” In other words, “Nothing can live without death, but nothing can die without life.”

Colors come in different ways, like the beautiful Flor de Cempasuchil, which is bright orange, yellow, white and purple. The candy skulls – made of sugar or chocolate, fruit and food – offer to the dead cut paper with infinite forms and colors.

These colors take us to very special places, magic places to celebrate and honor life and death.

The first place on our list to experience these colors is Pátzcuaro, in the State of Michoacán, west of Mexico City. This is the best place to rejoice the day of the dead. On the shore of the third largest lake in Mexico, you can breathe and touch the colors and the lights made for this day. From the Basilica of Pátzcuaro to the municipal pantheon, you will enjoy a spectacle of color by the traditional offerings full of flowers and lit candles. However, it is on the piers for one of the islands of the lake, called Janitzio, where the magic begins. Here, the tradition of this festivity goes back to the Purépechas people and it’s founded on an ancient legend.

The second place is San Miguel de Allende, in the State of Guanajuato, northwest of Mexico City. Local people still preserve the traditions of this Magical Town, The Culture and Traditions Department always prepare a special program to celebrate the Day of the Dead safely, from October 30 to November 2. Various activities are included. such as offerings, skull painting workshops, photographic exhibitions, plays and some tours around the city to see a series of altars and offerings. In addition, there are four giant skulls that are located in Civic Square, in Insurgentes Square, in Zeferino Park and in Juárez Park.

The third place on our list is Ocotepec, in the State of Morelos, south of Mexico City. This little town next to Cuernavaca takes El Día de Muertos celebration very seriously because it’s one of the most important festivals in Ocotepec.

The first thing you see when you enter the town is the cemetery, which is a good example of Mexican funerary architecture: its innumerable houses, churches and cathedrals, decorated in striking colors, confirm your belief in the continuity of life after death. There, entire families work to prepare the graves of their loved ones, including painting and redecorating them. On the night of October 31, the church bells ring announcing the approaching arrival of the deceased children. On the morning of November 1, the pantheon, which is adorned with flowers of many colors, is visited and a mass is celebrated in honor of the little ones. At night the bells are also rung, now awaiting the elderly deceased, then the preparations for the offering are made and on the morning of November 2, the pantheon is visited and a mass is offered as well.

We hope all of you one day may have the opportunity to see and experience the colors of El Día de Muertos and tell us your story.

From our hearts, we wish you a glorious day of the dead.

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