From Germany’s Oktoberfest to winter in Croatia, & now, Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Traveller Stephanie Hower jumps over to Central America to celebrate the region’s treasured holiday.
The opening scene of James Bond’s Spectre in 2015 brought to life an iconic Mexican tradition as 007 hopped between the rooftops of Mexico City. Beneath him, thousands gathered donning elaborate masks and colourful costumes during the Day of the Dead parade (or desfile de Día de Muertos), honouring those who have passed.
What many don’t know is that prior to the movie being released, the parade didn’t actually exist! It has since become an annual event in Mexico’s capital that locals and tourists alike have embraced, with more than 2 million tourists attending this year’s celebrations.
Whilst the national holiday isn’t officially observed in Mexico until November 2nd, celebrations kicked off on Saturday October 27th. Here are the highlights from this year’s parade and the themes behind the magnificent sculptures and costumes that adorned the streets of Mexico City.
Skulls & Catrinas
It truly wouldn’t be Day of the Dead without the famous skulls and Catrinas which featured in abundance during the parade, as well as throughout various parts of the city and of course as masks on the faces of many attendees.
A hot topic throughout Mexico, the leading float titled ‘Refuge City’ represented both foreigners who had found refuge settling in Mexico City, as well as Mexican citizens who had emigrated, with a colourful display of cultural infusions from the past and present.
A journey through time
From the prehistoric era, to the Mexican Revolution and the present day, the parade took viewers on a journey through the ages. One of the most popular marionettes that featured was the Mexican hairless dog, the Xoloitzcuintli (try pronouncing that!). According to Aztec legend, this special breed holds a significant spiritual connection to the dead as a ‘guardian’.
Art, technology & the future
A special homage was paid to the Mexican icon Frida Kahlo, in the form of a giant sculpture of the famous artist, laying in her 4-post bed. Many would recognise Kahlo’s renowned self-portraits and surrealist art style, which have become symbolic of Mexican national and Indigenous traditions. A large shrine has also been constructed at her house, now a museum.
Check out the incredible images from this year’s Day of the Dead parade here.
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Have you taken part in Day of the Dead festivities?
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