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Lakeside Day of the Dead Celebrations 2019

How to Celebrate:

Thriller Dance Ajijic

Date: October 26th, 2019

Time: 5 - 8 pm

Starting Point: Ajijic Cultural Center


Ajijic - Day of the Dead Parade

Date: November 2nd, 2019

Time: 7 pm

Starting Point: Aldama and Constitucion


Chapala - Day of the Dead Parade

Date: November 2nd, 2019

Time: 7 pm

Starting Point: Inglesia San Francisco -

close to the malecon























One important thing to know about the Day of the Dead is that it is not a Mexican version of Halloween. These two annual events are very different in tradition and tone. Halloween is now known to be a night for children to go out and “trick or treat” in scary costumes and is typically a night full of mischief, Day of the Dead on the other hand is an event full of colour and joy and is a celebration of the life of those passed.

Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is said that on November 1 the children who have passed come back to visit and celebrate as angelitos and on the following day, November 2, the adults turn up to celebrate the festivities. 

Some other common offerings are pan de Muerto, a typical sweet bread that has anise seeds and is usually decorated with bones and skulls made from dough. The bones are often arranged in a circle, symbolizing the circle of life.  The tiny teardrops, symbolize sorrow.


Drinks include pulque, a sweet fermented beverage made from agave; atole a warm corn flour beverage


The costumes are full of colour and imagination. People will dress up as skeletons and walk into the streets and town squares at all hours of the day and night. People of all ages will have their faces painted that resemble skeletons and wear fancy dresses and suits. 


Another tradition used is papel picado. We can see that all over restaurants, schools and houses. This is where artisans stack colourful tissue paper and then perforate the layers with hammer and chisel points. The art represents the wind and the fragility of life. 


The traditions used to celebrate Day of the Dead are vibrant and colourful and the message is clear. We are celebrating life both past and present.

“Todos Somos Calaveras”

which is a quote that means

“We are all skeletons”.

Underneath our man-made clothes, we are all the same. 

The Day of the Dead first originated several thousand years ago with the Toltec, Aztec and Nahua people, who believed that mourning the dead was disrespectful. These pre- Hispanic cultures believed that death was a normal transition in life and that we should still celebrate the dead as being alive in spirit and memory and that during the Day of the Dead, they would come back to Earth to celebrate among the living. 

One important characteristic of Day of the Dead is the altars or ofrendas that are made in homes or in cemeteries are not made to worship, but rather they are intended to bring the spirits back to the realm of the living.  They are typically full of the deceased’s favourite food and drinks,family photos and candles. It is believed that the dead are very hungry and thirsty while travelling from the spirit world back to the realm of the living. If one of the spirits is a child, you will usually see toys around the altar. Marigolds are beautiful orange flowers that are used to adorn the altars. They are scattered from the altar to the gravesite where they guide the wandering souls back to their place of rest. They also use smoke from copal incense, which is used to transmit prayers and purity in the area around the altar. 


Calaveras, meaning skulls are also used during the  Day of the Dead. In the late 18th century they were used to describe short humorous poems that poked fun at the living.  This tradition continues today.


The Catrina was first introduced when the Mexican political cartoonist Jose Guadalupe Posada created an etching of death in fancy french attire and called it Calavera Garbancer, with the intention of creating the idea that

Even though the theme for both traditions is death, the main reason for the Day of the Dead is to show love and respect for all of our deceased families. All across Mexico, children and adults wear makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance and make offerings to lost loved ones. It’s also important to note that the way we celebrate in North America may be offensive to those who celebrate traditionally here in Mexico. Which is why they do the Thriller Dance ahead of the actual holiday.

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