Published on October 28th, 2013 | by admin
In Mexico City, Day of the Dead Exudes Vibrant Mexican Culture
On Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2, Mexico City will celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an annual celebration — which takes place around Mexico — that showcases colorful altars and offerings as well as festive events to honor deceased friends and relatives. Mexico City — which recently made it onto LatinFlyer’s “Where to Travel Next” list of 6 Hot Cities in Latin America for 2014 Travel — is an especially exciting place to join the festivities. From haunted boat rides in Xochimilco to experience the legend of La Llorona to visiting the dead altars at Mixquic, or take a look to the light-show at Coyoacán or either more ofrendas and special contests at Museo Dolores Olmedo (the Dolores Olmedo Museum), visitors can immerse themselves in a Mexican tradition that dates back 3,000 years.
Day of the Dead was created to pay tribute to Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. Today, this Mexican holiday is the most celebrated in the country, when people come together to remember their friends and relatives who have passed away. Families also visit the graves of the deceased, decorating their tombstones with altars and bringing their favorite foods and drinks for them. Among the most traditional foods presented at the altars are pan de muerto (baked sweet bread with a bone-shaped surface), sugar and chocolate skulls and esquites (corn kernels mixed with mayonnaise, chili powder and lemon juice).
Personally, I headed to Cancun and the Riviera Maya this year, to attend Day of the Dead festivities there (check out my photo gallery of the Day of the Dead festivities at Xcanatun and follow me on Instagram — @mundera — for lots of photos and reports). But travelers who visit Mexico City will find plenty of options to experience this fascinating tradition, including:
● A trip to Xochimilco, an area in the South of Mexico City, known for its mystical network of canals that flow through the chinampas, or floating island gardens. From October 18 through November 24, visitors can enjoy a ride aboard one of the trajineras, which are colorful gondola-like boats, to see a performance about the legend of La Llorona or “the crying mother.” The show tells the story about a mother who drowned her children and then becomes deeply obsessed with guilt at the point of committing suicide, so, since then, she appears in spirit at the canals of Xochimilco, crying: “ay, mis hijos…”. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
● A visit to the neighborhood called Mixquic, where people visit the graveyards with their ofrenda (offerings) creations, indulge in traditional Mexican tequila and get into the spirit. The event takes place October 31 through November 3.
● This year, the Dolores Olmedo Museum, the original hacienda of the famed Mexican art collector, will showcase uniquely Paris-themed Day of the Dead décor, with a variety of artistically designed altars, live music performances and a fashion show. The showcase will be open from October 24 to December 29.
● For those seeking a unique gastronomic experience, Dulceria de Celaya, one of the oldest candy stores in the city, is a must-visit. With two locations in the city, the stores offer delicious candy creations such as almond marzipans and clay crafts resembling bones. Miniature candy graveyards are also created demonstrating true artisanal craftsmanship. Many of these delights can also be found in outdoor markets found throughout the City.
● Coyoacan, a neighborhood located in the southern part of Mexico City, offers still more options for the season. Day of the Dead displays can be seen all over the neighborhood, including a light show projected over San Juan Bautista Church.
● At the Museo de Arte Popular, children can join in on the festivities by making their own cardboard skulls in one of the daily workshops taking place throughout the month.
If you’re looking to make a toast in Mexico City, meanwhile, check out the great cocktail recipes from Mexico City hotels in LatinFlyer’s new book, Mexican Cocktails: Libations & Inspiration from Top Hotels, Bars & Restaurants around Mexico. The eBook is just $2.99. ¡Salud!
MORE MEXICO TRAVEL TIPS
• New Hotels, Restaurants, Tours & “Tax Back” Make Mexico City More Alluring
• “My Mexico City” — Travel Tips from Minister of Tourism Miguel Torruco
• City of Surprises: 5 Unexpected Things To Do in Mexico City
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