The Day Of The Dead is the closest thing that Mexico has to Halloween, and this year they are inviting tourists to take part.
The event that Mexico wishes to share with visitors is the Day of the Dead, which is a misnomer. It's actually a week of festivities in which the locals go all out in breaking out the skeletons and skulls, starting with the Day of the Dead Parade in Mexico City Oct. 27. And it's a lucrative bonanza for the country's Secretary of Tourism which reported that roughly a million visitors showed up for last year's parade and contributed $208 million in tourist revenue.
Besides the kick-off event in Mexico's capital, other major attractions for the event are spread out across various states in the country, including the Calaveras Festival in the architecture-rich Aguascalientes, the Catrinas Parade in the mining territory of Guanajuato, the Mictlan Festival in the port city of Veracruz, the Xantolo in centrally-located San Luis Potosi and the evening march on the island of Janitzio. The celebrations conclude Nov. 2.
The festival, combined with the cheap peso and warm weather, contributes to Mexico's status as the sixth most-visited country in the world, as indicated by the 39.3 million international tourists that showed up in 2017, a 12 percent increase from the previous year.
But folks who visit Mexico for the event might want to wrap their heads around the mindset of Day of the Dead, which has centuries of tradition. According to both Hispanic and aboriginal folklore, it's a colorful way to commemorate the dearly departed who helped build the country, especially descendants of families taking in the celebrations. Rather than using skeletal paraphernalia to scare the living wits out of everyone, locals put together the costumes, decorations and artistically-designed mockups of cadavers as a way to honor forebearers who sought ways to make lives better for their offspring.
It's also a way to recognize the myth that the dead annually pay a visit to their living counterparts. And when that reputedly happens, they're offered food and drink, which is also readily available to all during the festival.