Dia Muertos: The Most Picturesque Festivity In Mexico

Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is one of the most colorful festivities in Mexico. Celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd, the Day of the Dead remembers and honors the life of loved ones who have passed away. October 27th has recently gained recognition for departed pets. 


Often mistaken as the Mexican Hallowe’en (All Hallows’ Eve), Dia de Muertos has been celebrated for thousands of years, tracing its roots back to the Aztecs, who used skulls to honor the dead. When the conquistadors of Spain arrived in the 16th century, they brought their own traditions, such as placing wine and pan de ánimas (spirit bread) onto the graves of loved ones. 


The catholic church moved Dia de Muertos to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1st & 2nd, and those dates remain to this day. 

Día de Todos Santos (All Saints Day) And Día de Todos Almas (All Souls Day).

While November 2nd is officially Dia de Muertos, November 1st commemorates the innocents and is traditionally a day of somber remembrance of children. 


During the festival, friends and family of loved ones will decorate the graves or set up altars in homes or communities with photographs and memorabilia, offerings of flowers (marigolds), food and drink, and the favorite items of those who have passed. Many communities organize a parade, and participants dress up in extravagant costumes painting their faces as skulls. 


The cultural value of Dia de Muertos is so significant that UNESCO has declared Mexico’s “Indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead” a heritage of world importance. 

La Calavera Catrina (The Elegant Skull)

In recent years, the appearance of the La Catarina has added to the tradition, becoming an integral part of the celebrations. The modern image of La Catrina began in 1910 by the Mexican illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada, and her status as a national icon during the Day of the Dead has gained legendary status. Many towns compete against each other for the tallest, with Puerto Vallarta briefly winning the world record in 2022 for a Catrina at 25 meters high. 


Day Of The Dead And Tourism

Although the Day of the Dead is a deeply religious and cultural event, its colorful and picturesque traditions have made it a popular tourist attraction, with many thousands of visitors choosing to visit Mexico to coincide with the festival, dress up in costume, and enjoy the unique experience.

Around The World

Dia de Los Muertos, once confined to rural areas in Mexico, has become popular worldwide, with parades throughout the US. The European Union is also a participant at the Dia de Muertos parade in Mexico City. In the Philippines, the celebration of Undas is similar and takes place at the beginning of November.   


While the tradition began in Mexico, several other Latin American countries also celebrate the Day of the Dead, including Peru, El Salvador, Brazil, Guatemala, and Ecuador. 

Celebrate In Puerto Vallarta

Visiting Puerto Vallarta during Dia de Muertos, you will imprint memories that last a lifetime. At Puerto Vallarta Villas, we have luxury vacation rentals right in the heart of the celebrations. 

Call us today or visit our website to view our extensive list of properties. 

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