Though close to the holiday of Halloween, Day of the Dead is a very different celebration. Whereas Halloween is a dark night of terror or mischief the Day of the Dead is a true celebration of life. It allows people to learn there is a circle of life and not to fear death and then be free to enjoy and appreciate every moment.
During the Day of the Dead, some believe that the soles of the departed return to earth to visit and to provide council or give advice to family and loved ones. Families and friends of the dead take this opportunity to visit the gravesites to pull weeds, clean debris and decorate the graves of loved ones. Often candles, flowers and the favourite foods of the deceased are paced on the grave and the family visits, eats, sings and tells stories about those who have passed.
As seen in James Bond Spectre, the day of the dead festival is huge! It is an extremely social holiday that spills into streets and public squares at all hours of the day and night. People of all ages have their faces artfully painted to resemble skulls, and mimic the Calavera Catrina. Many revellers wear shells or other noisemakers to amp up the excitement.
Thanks to recognition by UNESCO and the global sharing of information, Dia de los Muertos (Spanish for Day of the Dead) is more popular than ever and is celebrated all over the world. However, if you find yourself in Mexico City the weekend before Day of the Dead this year make sure to stop by the grand parade where you can join in on live music, bike rides and other activities in celebration throughout the city. On the 2nd November floats and more than 700 performers paraded along a four-mile route through the capital. It is a wonderful spectrum and is worth visiting if you are in the area.