Halloween falls on October 31st and Day Of The Dead is close on its heels on November 2nd. While Halloween is celebrated in some areas in Mexico, Day Of The Dead is the more popular of the two.
Halloween began as a pagan ritual, and has evolved into a celebration including costumes and candy treats. It was also believed that Halloween, a day that marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, was not only a transition between seasons but also a bridge to the world of the dead.
Day Of The Dead asserts that the souls of the deceased are allowed to leave heaven and reunite with their families on this day. Families gather in cemeteries and adorn their loved ones’ memorials with beautiful wreaths of flowers. This celebration also involves food, drink and music.
Although Day Of The Dead is a government holiday, restaurants and retail proceed as on any other day. I actually went grocery shopping in the morning and had dinner out with a friend on Monday.
When I lived in Guadalajara, this was Day Of The Dead central. In Centro in the Plaza Del Armas there was a huge display of Katrinas. In Tlaquepaque the streets were colorfully decorated and Calle Independencia was lined with altars. El Refugio also had an array of altars and Katrinas.
Here in Mazatlan there was a huge parade in the Centro Historico, and people flocked to Plaza Machado in elaborate costumes. There were also festivities at the Angela Peralta Theater. On Sunday a friend took me to the Municipal Cemetery and I was amazed by the activity there.
Instead of candy, sugar skulls and special bread are the norm.
I was disappointed that I only saw one altar here in Mazatlan. Families build altars in their homes and in the streets to honor their ancestors. Here are some pics from Tlaquepaque.
In Mazatlan I did see a few children in costumes going door to door in the Zona Dorada and they were quite young and looked adorable. Unfortunately we drove by them in a car and I was unable to get any photos. Where I’m from in Canada the streets are filled with young children and teenagers on Halloween but Day of the Dead is not celebrated. But here I have the best of both worlds!