Mexico City’s International Day of the Dead parade will return this year in all its splendor and color after being forced online in 2020.
The festival is one of Mexico’s most important, and is almost universally celebrated by indigenous communities. It is marked by smells of copal, an abundance of marigolds, elaborate altars and cemeteries lit up with candles. Mexico City first hosted a parade to coincide with the holiday in 2016, which was well received by the public.
The parade will start at midday on October 31 and travel 8.7 kilometers from the city’s main zócalo to Campo Marte, a military complex near the Auditorio Metro station. More than 1,000 volunteers will participate, including 150 musicians and 350 dancers and acrobats. The parade will be divided into four themes: Tenochtitlán, Mexico City today, Magic and Tradition, and Celebrating Life.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the parade would be dedicated to victims of the pandemic. “The city is going to celebrate its Day of the Dead festival with sanitary protections. The festivities have two characteristics: one is very sad — what we have lived through recently in our country … which is that thousands of people have died from COVID-19, so the event is dedicated to all those people … so we can pay tribute,” she said.
She explained that 98% of the city’s adult population had received at least a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, allowing the event to resume, and that the festivities would provide an important economic boost.
Mexico City Tourism Minister Paola Félix said the participants have rehearsed in groups of no more than 40 people as a health measure. There will be sanitary checkpoints and random COVID tests for participants during the event, which attracted some 2.6 million people in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Alfeñique festival in Toluca, México state, has also been given the go-ahead. Eighty-one artisans will convene in the city center from October 15-November 2 to sell chocolate and traditional sugar skulls for Day of the Dead altars.