A festival vibe with a sombre tone – it's time for the Day of the Dead. Think of it as Halloween, Christmas and the 4th of July all wrapped up into one awesome holiday. Here are five of Mexico's best destinations for experiencing this commemorative celebration fusing ancient Aztec traditions with Catholicism during the days (and sometimes weeks) around the first and second of November.
Home to the world's only museum dedicated to death, this city situated in central Mexico is famous for its colonial heritage and architecture, bullfighters, wine, hot springs (hence the name) and its annual Festival de las Calaveras (Festival of Skulls) happening from the last week of October through the first week of November. During the festival concerts, plays, exhibitions and a range of events fill the city's calendar.
Ever bustling Mexico City grants easy access to a rich cultural offering of traditional and contemporary festivities. Visitors will find special Dia de los Muertos events happening across the greater metropolitan area for all ages, budgets and persuasions. Look for the biggest and most popular activities going on in and and around the Zócalo, Mexico City's historic and central “main plaza.”
A rural and sleepy village but technically still within the sprawl of Mexico City, Mixquic is a great location to visit for a dose of traditional culture without having to stray too far from the bright lights of the big city. The whole community gets in on the act here with the village library opening up well into the night for visitors to view a range of ofrendas and related displays.
A popular destination at anytime of year, Oaxaca City pulls out all the stops during Dia de los Muertos. Think vibrant color, excellent food and an all night carnival atmosphere in the streets.
Located in the state of Michoacán the small town of Pátzcuaro near the lake which shares the same name, Day of the Dead observances here intensely adhere to age old local customs with a range of events taking place throughout town, along the lake shore and even on the lake as well as the tiny island of Janitzio.
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Photo credit: Chris Osburn;