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The most bizarre Day of the Dead Traditions

In Mexico, November means celebration, tradition and colors. Usually, the first days of the month people gather in graveyards or houses. However, each family celebrates the Day of the Dead with different bizarre traditions. But all of them have the same purpose: to accompany the dead. People put a lot of effort in their altars, which include the favorite meal of their passed loved ones. And water, salt, pan de muerto (bread), candles and fruit.

Also, in many different states of the country you can find various traditions to celebrate this day. Here, we’ll explain some of them.


You missed out? Pan de feria, traditional dessert at festivities”

Some Bizarre Traditions

The food of the souls, Yucatán

Mayan culture is still very close to people in Yucatan. That’s why this celebration is called Hanal Pixán, which means “the food of the souls”. Just like in every state in Mexico, the dead come to have dinner with their families. But they do not leave until November 30. Here, the altars are on all month until souls go back to Xibalba.

Campeche cleans the bones of their deceased

Days before the main celebration, in Campeche, on a small town called Pomuch, they are used to cleaning up graves and the bones of the deceased. Bones are kept in ossuaries, which are covered with a white sheet with the deceased name embroider. The skull must be placed above all the other bones. And the box is kept open so sunlight and air can come in.

Wake in Michoacán

While in most places this day is a reason to celebrate, in Janitzio, Michoacán, a wake takes place. People gather around in graveyards and the altar is placed on their loved one’s grave. Everything is made in silence to honor the living and the dead. On the other hand, in Jaracuaro, flower arches are built, one for each neighborhood on the island. But no matter what tradition you follow, songs, gatherings, games and food, are never missing.

Sawdust rugs in Oaxaca

The very well-known sawdust rugs come from Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. There, the graveyards that are most visited are San Sebastian and Mictláncíhuatl. If you go visit, don’t forget to taste their colorful pan de muerto with faces of the dead.

The mega altars from Puebla

Puebla is known for its huge shows and three story altars. These represent the terrestrial plane, the one that merges heaven and earth, and the divine.

What’s important on this date is to follow whichever tradition you like, honor life and celebrate death. If you want to go visit a graveyard or visit other state is up to you. What you cannot forget is to place your altar or the dead may pull your feet!

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Yanni Leyte

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