Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City

Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City
Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City

Thousands of Mexicans participate in the colourful Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City.

The annual festive tradition was cancelled during the pandemic but it returned to the city in 2021.

During the Day of the Dead celebrations that take place in late October and early November in Mexico, the living remember and honour their dearly departed, but with celebration — not sorrow.

Adults and children alike dress as skeletons and take photos, capturing the annual joy-filled festivities. It is believed that during the Day of the Dead — or Dia de Muertos — they are able to commune with their deceased loved ones.

No one knows when the first observance took place, but it is rooted in agriculture-related beliefs from Mexico’s pre-Hispanic era. Catholic traditions were incorporated into the celebration after the Spanish conquest in 1521.

Today, skeletons are central to Day of the Dead celebrations, symbolising a return of the bones to the living world. Like seeds planted under soil, the dead disappear temporarily only to return each year like the annual harvest.

Altars are core to the observance as well. Families place photographs of their ancestors on their home altars, which include decorations cut out of paper and candles.

They also are adorned with offerings of items once beloved by those now gone. It could include cigars, a bottle of mezcal or a plate of mole, tortillas and chocolates.