Mexico’s Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico or by people of Mexican decent elsewhere in the world, and although it shares the same relative dates as Halloween, both are very different from each other.
Officially, Día de los Muertos falls on November 2nd, but tradition has seen it celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd, often with preparations (and some festivities) starting even earlier.
Halloween lost any religious or spiritual connotations long ago and now is more a time of festivity, with mostly kids dressing up and ingesting copious amounts of candy. Adults watch the kids, whilst having vodka shots and generally enjoying themselves.
Día de los Muertos, on the other hand, is a blend of pre-Hispanic indigenous beliefs and Spanish Catholic beliefs, and is the time that relatives remember and pay their respects to loved ones who have passed on, and to dwell for a time on the fragility of life.
“It’s a party in the cemetery, a celebration,” says Benito De-la Rosa, a 24-year-old from Mexico City who has travelled to Oaxaca for the festivities. “In other countries this would be weird or disrespectful. But for us it is beautiful.”
That isn’t to say that it’s a sad time though, as alternatively, revellers treat it all with good humor and make it a time to break out the face paint and dress up, and enjoy the fact that their dead relatives have returned to eat, drink, and enjoy the company of their loved ones.