Dia De Los Muertos is a traditional Mexican celebration honoring lost loved ones.
Though this is a Mexican holiday with its roots in paganism, Dia de los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic holidays of all Saints Day and All Souls Day, distinguishing between lost children and adults.
In Mexican culture, when someone dies, their loved ones come together to celebrate their life instead of mourning. It is common to wear brightly colored clothing instead of dressing in black. Mexicans create extravagant ofrendas (or alters) for their deceased friends, family, or honored celebrities so that the dead can come back and visit the living world.
The ofrendas can vary in different levels or meanings but the most basic alter is filled with fresh fruits, pan de los muertos, or dead bread, and objects that the spirits loved in life to help invite them back home.
As a family, we adore the idea of celebrating, as opposed to mourning, our deceased loved ones and all of the rich and vibrant colors and traditions that Mexicans are known for, so we were beyond excited to have the Day of the Dead as our welcome to living in Mexico!
The Malecon, Puerto Vallarta’s waterfront walkway that runs along Centro and Zona Romantica, was filled with enormous and ornamented skeletons, elaborate sand art, known as tapetes de arena, and ofrendas covered in flowers, fruits and gifts. Many people adorned faces painted as skulls and we found Coco references around every corner.
There was no shortage of music, with live bands playing in the main square, the Plaza Principal de las Armas, and nearby parks, as well as huge mariachi bands in the parade. The mariachi bands are extremely talented and truly create musical art. They are not the misrepresented parodies that are often envisioned north of the border. Vendors of all kinds offered fresh, delicious foods and agua frescas, water mixed with sugar and various fruits, flowers, cereals and seeds.
Jude was most fond of the parade, especially the dancing horses and cowboys. Mom and dad would be hard pressed to pick a favorite of anything. The music, ofrendas, painted faces, clothing and food all came together to create a truly magical experience that displayed a beautiful and unique aspect of Mexican culture: the Mexican people's great respect and adoration for their loved ones who have passed.
We look forward to celebrating again next year and creating some decorations and an ofrenda of our own to remember and celebrate the lives of the people that we have loved who are no longer with us.