Known as ‘Day of the Dead,’ Dia de Los Muertos is a traditional holiday celebrated in Mexico and worldwide, a 2-day festivity honoring the dead and departed. It’s a celebration of life and family, a joyous occasion rather than a morbid one. Being in another country and culture is an exciting, unfamiliar experience. The key is to be respectful of the celebrations and traditions you are participating in, so you can enjoy festivities without dishonoring traditions vital to cultures different from yours.
Let’s take a stroll and see some of the vibrant ways Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated.
Some of the many spectacular things that Dia de Los Muertos is known for are the food and drinks traditionally served during the celebrations.
One of the most popular offerings on Dia de Los Muertos is Pan de Muerto (also called pan de los muertos). These sweet loaves are traditionally flavored with orange zest and anise seeds and are baked with skull and bone shape adornments.
To honor them, Pan de Muerto is typically eaten with the favorite foods of departed family members and loved ones.
In addition to Pan de Muerto, traditional foods and drinks include Tamalitos, cacao (hot chocolate), and Lechon (roast pork).
Partaking in the Day of the Dead’s traditional cuisine is a chance to honor a unique cultural experience and give your taste buds a day in paradise.
Another vibrant Dia de Los Muertos tradition is the altars built in honor of the dead. These dynamic altars are the physical manifestation of the remembrance of those family members who have left the land of the living. They are adorned with candles and traditional offerings (ofrendas) to help lead the departed spirit back to the living world.
These altars are built on both small and large scales, and are often furnished with photographs and individualized keepsakes, and are seen as a garish celebration of life.
Like all cultures throughout the world, traditions vary wildly by the community and by the individual. Some villages choose to spend their entire nights in the cemetery feasting, drinking, and celebrating throughout the night.
Since the Day of the Dead is a celebration meant to bring home the departed souls and honor their lives, gravesites are decorated to welcome the spirits back to the land of the living. Some traditions see flower petals laid from the gravesite to the family home, creating a floral path home for the newly returned loved ones.
Visiting these cemeteries is an excellent way to honor Dia de Los Muertos’ tradition and partake in the local culture of the country you’re seeing.
Xcaret is a sprawling water park in Cancun, housing several natural wonders and cultural landmarks.
This stretching natural sanctuary is transformed every year in honor of Dia de Los Muertos. The riveting Festival of Life and Death takes over the entire Xcaret Park, becoming a petri dish of culture, food, and color.
With arresting altars and offerings on display all around the park, celebrating the Day of the Dead while on vacation in paradise is a must at Xcaret Park.
Cultures and traditions different from your own can be breathtaking to be a part of. With respect and sensitivity, enjoying the hallowed holiday of Dia de Los Muertos is one of the most extraordinary things you can do while vacationing abroad.
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