Thursday, July 18, 2024

Day of the Dead festivities begin in CDMX this weekend

Starting this weekend, a wide range of activities over a twelve-day period will take place in CDMX to commemorate Day of the Dead, one of the most important and sacred holidays in Mexican culture. From the traditional annual Day of the Dead parade to nightly experiences and alebrijes contest, Mexico City will host a busy cultural calendar dedicated to the dead.

The theme of this year’s celebration will be “México: The navel of the Moon”, which allures to the meaning of the word Mexico itself. According to Mexican tradition, the word Mexico comes from the Nahuatl words metztli and xictli, which together translates as “the center of the moon.”

The festivities will start at 12 p.m. on Oct. 22 with the Alebrijes parade, which will showcase 200 gigantic artisanal statues created in different parts of the country. Starting in the Zócalo and finishing at the Ángel de la Independencia, the alebrijes — animals with fantastical features and picturesque striking colors — will stay on display along the sidewalks of Reforma until Nov. 6.

Technological novelties will also take the stage at the celebration. A QR code will create access to a story told by seven themed characters including one called Moon and another called Metztli in reference to the meaning of the word Mexico. And the Day of the Dead parade, which will take place on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m., will be streamed into the metaverse for the first time — meaning it will be available to watch from any place on earth. A contemporary drone and light show will also take its part at the end of the tour.

A brightly colored alebrije on parade in Mexico City.
A brightly colored alebrije on parade in Mexico City. Alberto Bernal / Depositphotos

The Día de Muertos parade, one of the most anticipated events of the season, will showcase 39 parade floats — including a motorized float for the Mexican soccer team — and four gigantic balloons inspired by pre-Hispanic legends and by the catrinas. Reproductions of artworks from Mexican artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo will also be displayed and the “princess of Mexican music,” Angela Aguilar, will offer a free concert in the Zócalo at the end of the event.

Among other activities, Chapultepec park will offer free nightly experiences called “Iluminando Almas” (“Illuminating Souls”) which will take place on the nights of Oct. 29 and 30 as well as Nov. 1 and 2. The traditional Festival of Ofrendas And Flower Arrangements will take place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 in the Centro Histórico, where a gigantic ofrenda will also be placed in the Zócalo. 

Nightly walks around Mexico City’s downtown are also encouraged as 8.7 km of buildings will be illuminated with Day of the Dead images such as cempasúchil — Mexico’s seasonal flower — and José Guadalupe Posada’s famous catrinas.  

With reports from Mxcity and Cdmx Secreta

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