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The holiday of Halloween is definitely well-covered terrain around these parts every year, but for the 2011 version yours truly, Heather Wixson, thought it might be fun to head south of the Border to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to experience for myself the wonderful customs and rituals of Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead for all you gringos out there) as part of my long-overdue vacation.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the traditions of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos is a three-day celebration from October 31st through November 2nd which is centered around the tradition of family and friends gathering to pay tribute to their deceased loved ones. Tributes are paid through various traditions including caring for and decorating the graves of family members with marigolds and their favorite foods, building elaborate altars to loved ones who have passed on and celebrating the dead with processions, dances and music. Calaveras (skulls) are also featured in masks, costumes and papier-mâché puppets; and sugar skull candies are decorated with the names of the deceased, which are then consumed as a form of tribute during the three-day festival.
On November 1st we were on hand for the Festival of Life and Death at the Xcaret Eco-Archeological Park in Playa del Carmen to observe many of the traditions of Dia de los Muertos (they embrace death right up to their $6 margaritas) and thought it might be fun to share with our DC readers an assortment of pictures from the festival as well as some of the tributes constructed by the residents of Playa del Carmen (including several paying homage to many Hollywood celebrities) during the celebration.
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Honor your dearly departed ancestors in the comments section below!