Day of the Dead in Mexico City

Consejo Ciudadano México DF

Tradition and celebration

A fiesta of color
Mexico City is the center for numerous celebrations around the Day of the Dead. Whether it is ofrendas in public plazas, disguised figures in the tradition of la Catrina (the grand dame of death) or pictorial expressions on walls, it is a tradition that cannot fail to be noticed.

Can you give me a calaverita?

For the ancient Mexicans, to venerate and remember their antecedents and departed was a sacred duty, and therefore the children were educated to honor Death.

At night the place where offerings are made of food, sweets, tequila or mezcal, toys and any other vice, is purified with an incense burner and copal, so that the souls notice that they are received with affection.

Two incense burners guide the path of the souls towards the earth, in an ofrenda made of sawdust.

As a result of acculturation and syncretism, new ways of celebrating the arrival of our dead can be seen in the streets of the city. In Coyoacán, ofrendas are placed but they also celebrate Halloween.

UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) promotes the tradition in an original way. Here, students of the upper middle level of the CCH Oriente (College of Sciences and Humanities - East ) place an ofrenda with cempasúchil flowers, sawdust, seeds and oranges.

One of the finest portraits of the festival, La Catrina by José Guadalupe Posada. An elegant lady, inspired by fin de siècle French culture, that in reality represents the refinement and beauty of Death.

In the ofrendas of the City it is also possible to find Mictlantecuhtli represented, the Divine Generative Force of Death, within the dualist worldview of our ancestors.

Young Mexicans continue with the ancestral traditions, demonstrating that it is a fundamental part of the culture of the country.

At home or in public spaces, offerings are placed to remember the ones who have died, who can be friends or family.

Some of them pay homage to important history characters, like in this case which is dedicated to the heroes that help built Mexican history.

Death on the Streets
Many street artists have painted images related to Day of the Dead in the walls around Mexico City. These remind of the close relationship that Mexicans have with death, more about humor than fear.

This artwork, for example, features a tzompantli, which were altars with the skulls of those who were sacrificed to honor the gods.

Day of the Dead is a family tradition that is shared from one generation to another. In this case it is possible to find a mural portraying a family of skeletons.

The celebration of Day of the Dead is not only expressed in altars and rituals, but also on the streets which are the canvas for street artists.

Credits: Story

Consejo Ciudadano de la Ciudad de México
Quetzalli Blanco
Tonalli y Smer

Credits: All media
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