You have probably heard about this incredible celebration; the altars, the food, the ceremonies, but nothing like being present. Dia de los Muertos is one of our major celebrations in Mexico. During these special dates we are allowed to honor the memory of our relatives who departed soon. The preparation is just as exciting as the celebration itself. From Cancun and all the way to Valladolid and the Yucatán peninsula, all the people are getting ready for the big event. If you think this is a sad celebration think again! Mexicans are proud of their traditions and the Dia de los muertos is a wonderful opportunity to remember and honor the souls of their loved ones. If you are vacationing in the area this is a very important piece of information. We have the best ideas for you to celebrate a real Dia de Los Muertos during your holidays. And we will even help you interpreting the symbolism to know the true meaning of this festivity in Mexican culture.

The Meaning Of Dia De Los Muertos

Dia de los muertos

Dia de los muertos or Hanal Pixan celebration as it is best known in the Yucatan peninsula, has a deep meaning for Mexicans. In each State of the country there are small variations to the celebration, but in general the ingredients are the same. The colors of the altars are usually purple and orange which represent the souls of relatives and death. The salt, water and cinnamon placed on the table are for the souls rest. The white table cloth is purity and peace for the departed souls. Pictures of your relatives or members of the family who passed away (even pets).The flowers have to be Cempasuchil which has a strong scent to guide the spirits to the altar. Some families even create a Cempasuchil path from the door or the entrance to the altars. The arch on the altar represents the door or the entrance to the land of the living. These are the basic ingredients plus others that depend on the relatives likes, like alcohol, candies or toys. The most common foods you can find at the altar are; hot chocolate, bread of the dead (pan de muerto), tamales, oranges and tangerines. Preparations start on October 31st and by midnight the altars have to be ready. People believe that God grant the young souls (kids) permission to visit their families on earth, during the first day. And the second day the permission is granted for the adults. Therefore the celebration lasts until November 2nd each year.

Different  Options To Celebrate

Altar decorations

There are different ways to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos in the area. The first and most common is to pay a visit to the local cemetery. This is incredibly meaningful for residents of Riviera Maya because that is the place where their departed rest. And in order to honor their memory they bring all kinds of offerings. Some of the offerings include; bread, alcohol, candies, clothes, flowers, food, toys, etc.  Other way of celebrating is to have an altar at your home (it can be your vacation home). It is very simple to put together an altar, you just need a table, table cloth, picture of your relatives, flowers, food and candles. You can find tamales, chocolate and bread od the dead to make your altar, at Ah Cacao store. The last option to celebrate if you don´t have time for the altar, is to join the altars already made by locals. Xcaret Eco Park has an interesting event during October 30th, 31st, November 1st and 2nd.  With dancing, special shows and authentic food. The visit is totally worth it and it gives you an idea of the hundreds of activities included in the Dia De Los Muertos celebration.

Join The Celebration And Attend Altar Contests

Mayan priest

If you are more the “off the beaten track” type of traveler, there are also less crowded and less expensive options to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos. The altar contests are very popular in each town, and they organize them at each municipality park with no access fee. LocoGringo is offering a day trip on October 31st and November 1st to visit Playa del Carmen and Tulum altars. From 5:00pm until 10:00pm you can join the local celebrations and use the help of our amazing tour guide/driver. The trip includes round transportation, a stop at the local cemetery so that you can see the ceremonies and offerings. Also a visit to the local altar contests organized by the local business where you can try authentic Dia de los muertos food. Rates go from $100.00usd to $120.00usd per person if you are staying somewhere in Akumal area. Rates might change according the distance so we recommend you to request a quote in advance and secure your spot. The recommendations to join any of the day trips are:

  • Bring cash for food or souvenirs.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Bring your camera!

Give us a call at: +52 1 984 196 1049 or e-mail us at: [email protected] Don´t miss the opportunity to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Playa del Carmen or Tulum, and let us make you part of the wonderful Mexican traditions!

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