Everything you need to know about the Day of the Dead Parade in CDMX

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For the International Day of the Dead Parade, more than a thousand volunteers, four international artists, 10 floats, among others, will participate in the 8.7 km route that will last 5 hours.

In order to promote and preserve the traditions of the country but also to support national tourism and reactivate the economy, the activities that will be part of the celebrations for the Day of the Dead in 2021 were presented on Monday, among which the “International Day of the Dead Parade celebrating life” to be held on October 31.

The Head of Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, the Secretary of Tourism of the City Paola Félix Díaz, the Secretary of Culture Vanesa Bohórquez López and the Cultural Counselor and Secretary-General of ANDA Jesús Ochoa, among others, were part of the presidium.

“This announcement has several objectives, the first is that, unlike the previous year where we could not carry out massive festivities, today we are practically with 98% of vaccination in the City of all those who have been vaccinated; by the time of the Day’s holiday of the Dead will already be vaccinated as now 100% of all those who wanted to be vaccinated or 98%, from 18 (years) onwards, will be practically vaccinated 80% at least if not 100% depending on the arrival of the vaccines, the entire population, that is, the complete system, and also with their first vaccine, children in vulnerable situations will start soon, “said the Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum.

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“This allows us to maximize all the economic activities of the city and of course the Day of the Dead represents a tourist activity par excellence where many people from our country and the whole world come to celebrate with us this important event throughout the country and particularly in the city “. 

Sheinbaum also stressed that the city will return to its Day of the Dead festival with preventive measures for Covid-19 and it is precisely in that sense that the celebration will also be held: to honor the victims of Covid-19.

“These festivities have two characteristics, a very sad one, which is what we have experienced in recent years in our city, in our country and throughout the world, which is thousands of people who have died from Covid-19, so it is dedicated to all these people family, friends, acquaintances, “he said. 

“The city is on its feet and begins to recover its economic activity and in the midst of this celebration that all Mexican women and men have, we also love this way of recovering the social, cultural, and economic life of our city.”

The celebrations will be associated with the commemorations for the 500 years of the fall of Tenochtitlán and the 200 years of independent Mexico, among others.

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What can you expect from the celebration? 

Paola Félix Díaz, Secretary of Tourism of the City, explained that for the first time different secretariats configure the cultural and tourist agenda of the City and explained that this parade incorporates traditions to travel to Mexico-Tenochtitlán. 

For the International Day of the Dead Parade, more than a thousand volunteers, four international artists, 10 floats, among others, will participate in the 8.7 km route that will last 5 hours. 

In addition, the parade will have four segments with a unique concept and soundtrack: “Tenochtitlán, heart of Mexico”, “Mexico City today”, “Magic and tradition” and “Celebrating life”. 17 alebrijes and more than 23 countries will participate and a tribute will be paid to the victims of Covid-19 and the trades that give life to the City.

According to the authorities, it is designed so that there are no crowds and the attendees are distributed throughout it starting at 12:00 hours in the Capital Zócalo and ending in Campo Marte. The attendees will use masks and not makeup as an anti-Covid-19 measure, the same ones that during the rehearsal process they did in groups of less than 40 people to avoid contagion and figures such as Tin Tan, José José and Kaliman, will be some of the figures Highlights from the Mexican show business that will be part of the parade.

The presidium assured that as CDMX has the greatest advance in vaccination in the country, this type of great event can be held. In addition, the measures to extend the route, keep a healthy distance and have the responsibility and citizen participation using face masks, will help to avoid risks.

They highlighted that the tourism sector contributes 8% of the Gross Domestic Product of the Country, hence it is essential to recover the massive events. 

This edition will be inclusive and committed to society, explained Paola Félix, since social groups of people with disabilities, older adults, single mothers, and the LGBTQ + community participate in workshops to generate a source of work.

In this regard, Jesús Ochoa stressed that he is returning to this party in a very dignified way. 

“It is very important because it is rootedness, it is ours, it is our identity to face death in that way, I think that nowhere is death faced in this festive way, one congratulates once again on being Mexican, “said Jesús Ochoa. 

“I want to thank, honor, congratulate, embrace those who faced death in this pandemic, all the medical and health personnel of this country, for whom I ask for great applause.”

The secretary of culture Vanesa Bohórquez López explained that a Day of the Dead offering will be presented in different parts of the Historic Center by artists from Los Faros y Pilares, in addition to a new account, the Mega procession of catrinas, the exhibition of Mexicráneos, the Festival of offerings and flower arrangements of the Historic Center and the Pan de Muerto Festival, among others. The Los Ángeles Hall will also join in with activities such as danzoneras, among others.

Day of the Dead Offering, know the elements you must have

That your offering does not lack anything to receive your loved ones this Day of the Dead, here we tell you what it carries and its symbolism.

The Day of the Dead is a celebration of great importance for the people of Mexico, as it honors their deceased through ancestral rituals and the placement of the traditional offering. 

Mexican homes receive their dead on November 1 and 2, dates related to the Catholic celebrations of All Souls’ Day and All Saints, respectively.

Unlike other cultures, Mexicans and Mexicans remember the dead in a special way, with respect, nostalgia and affection but also happy and with love, through the offering where they place the photographs of their deceased but also candles, papel picado, marigold flowers but above all with the dishes they liked the most. 

Thus, the Day of the Dead altars take the form of small rituals, a means that allow families to remember their loved ones with affection.

According to the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, the offering of Day of the Dead is a mix of indigenous and European cultural elements. It includes indigenous elements such as copal, traditional food such as mole, and the beautiful marigold flower that fills the altar with color along with the papel picado. While the Spanish contributed some flowers and candles.

The Day of the Dead offering is a “reflection of the syncretism of the old and the new world. The dead are received with natural, frugal and intangible elements ”. It is in short a socio-cultural manifestation full of syncretism to honor the deceased. 

So that your Day of the Dead offering does not lack anything, we tell you what are the essential elements that it must have. 

1. Water

Water is a symbol of life and in some cultures, it also symbolizes the purity of the soul. It is offered to the souls of the deceased to quench their thirst after their journey.

2. Salt

The second most important element in the offering is salt since it is an element of purification and serves so that “the body does not get corrupted, on its round trip for the following year”.

3. Candles

Another essential element are candles and candles. Although in ancient times the Mexicans used ocote slices, today it is common to use candles and candles in the Day of the Dead offering. Candles are extremely important because they symbolize faith and hope, and also because they guide the souls of our loved ones.

4. Copal

In ancient times, indigenous peoples offered copal to the gods as an offering, but with the arrival of the Spanish, they brought incense to Mexican lands. This element is essential, as it is used to drive away evil spirits.

5. Flowers

Flowers are another must-see element on Day of the Dead altars, as they are a festive and aromatic element; of course, the cempasúchil ones should not be missing, and you can add lattice, wallflower and cloud. It is customary to place a path of marigold petals to guide the deceased and it is common to see it adorning the altars and graves of loved ones on November 1 and 2. By the way, in Nahuatl, marigold flower means “twenty flower”; anniversary of death.

6. Photos

It is essential to place photographs of your loved ones on the altar of the Day of the Dead. According to INPI experts, the photograph must be hidden and in such a way that it can only be seen with a mirror, to imply that the loved one can be seen but no longer exists.

7. Bread

According to INPI, “the brotherly offering is bread. The church presents it as the “Body of Christ.” Made in different ways, bread is one of the most precious items on the altar ”.

8. Food

The offering cannot be without the favorite food of your loved ones. In many places it is customary to cook mole with chicken and rice, since it is a dish that is eaten on special occasions, however, you can cook the favorite dish of your loved ones.

9. Drink

In addition to water, it is common to offer your loved ones other drinks such as tequila and mezcal, which are traditional in Mexico but can also include pulque or the favorites of the deceased. 

10. Sugar skulls

The traditional sugar skulls are a characteristic element of the Day of the Dead offerings and should not be missing. Currently, there are also chocolate and amaranth skulls decorated with figures of sugar or dried fruits such as raisins, blueberries, peanuts and walnuts. 

11. Shredded paper

The papel picado represents air, one of the four elements. In addition, it adds a colorful and festive touch to the offering.

Elements of ancestral offerings and native peoples

In indigenous communities and native peoples, the offerings have elements such as the mat, since it can be used as a bed for the loved one to rest after their long journey from the underworld to the living, sometimes the mat is used as a decorative element. . 

Some families also place necks and reeds in their offerings, since these two elements are related to the tzompantli. The collets are loaves in the shape of a wheel and are placed in the offerings, supported by pieces of cane. The loaves symbolize the skulls of the defeated enemies and the reeds the rods where they were threaded in ancient times.

Offerings for children

Some families make offerings for children on October 31. According to popular beliefs, children’s souls visit their families on November 1.

Offerings for children are characterized by white flowers, as these symbolize the purity of their souls.

When it comes to decorating the offering for children, you cannot miss the sweets and sugar or chocolate skulls. You can also include toys.

According to the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), “it is characteristic that all the elements that make up the altar of the“ little angels ”are made on a reduced scale. None is large, nor can objects that belong to the adult altars be placed. If so, the little children would get angry, they would get sad and they would not eat what was offered ”.

The most traditional altars also include an izcuintle, since this dog is the one that helps souls cross the Chiconauhuapan River, the last step to reach Mictlán.

Other additional elements for the Day of the Dead offering

In some cases, families also provide ewer, soap, and a towel in case the loved one needs to wash their hands after the long journey. You can also put clean clothes.

Likewise, it is common to place an ash cross, as it will help the loved one to atone for their pending sins.

In addition, you can also place images of saints and other religious images.

The Mexico City Post