Day of the Dead: A Holiday to Die For

Presented by Palace Resorts

You enjoyed watching Coco with the kids and marveled at the concept of the deceased being allowed to cross over to the land of the living once a year. And the alluring display of vibrant colors, captivating flowers, and whimsical sugar skulls and skeleton makeup is impossible to resist. But what exactly is this Day of the Dead business and, more importantly, how do I celebrate when I’m in Mexico.

Some call it "Mexican Halloween" while others scoff at the notion. Either way, wouldn't it be fun to expand the end of October celebration a day or two more? You’re in luck, because Moon Palace Resorts and Palace Resorts in Mexico take the holiday serious. And by serious, we mean get ready for some serious fun.

For starters, Day of the Dead in Mexico is not really a day. The holiday roughly coincides with two holidays of Christian origin: All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). While details vary from one region to another within Mexico and throughout Latin America, the basic idea is that death should not only be mourned, but also celebrated.

The coolest thing about Day of the Dead is that, at its core, it’s built on a concept we can all relate to regardless of cultural background or religious beliefs: Death is universal and should be celebrated.

But enough with the history lesson; the coolest thing about Day of the Dead is that, at its core, it’s built on a concept we can all relate to regardless of cultural background or religious beliefs. Death is universal and while we may not all mourn equally, there’s no reason why we can’t take a few pointers from our south-of-the-border brothers and sisters to celebrate the memory of deceased loved ones.

Another perk of this holiday is that you get to create it your own way. The centerpiece of the celebration is the Altar of the Dead, which sounds solemn but often takes on whimsical and merry forms.

The altar can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, depending on your creativity, access to materials and time. No two altars are the same, but all tend to include some basic elements, including pictures of deceased loved ones, flowers and food. The idea is to celebrate the memory of the departed by offering them earthly elements they enjoyed.

At Cozumel Palace and Playacar Palace, there will be contests to display an array of altars in the respective lobbies, while a variety of Day of the Dead activities go on throughout the holiday.

Certain ingredients have become mainstays and synonymous with the holiday -such as marigold flowers or the ubiquitous pan de muerto- so expect to see them in quantities, especially at Moon Palace Resorts and Palace Resorts.

And what about costumes and candy? During Día de Muertos, the costumes are exclusively reserved to the skeleton type, or the catrina, its female counterpart. For those staying at Playacar Palace, they won’t want to miss a parade of catrinas down renowned 5th Avenue, which will also include a focus on Mexican art, culture, and beauty. As for the aforementioned sugar skulls, truly a work of confectionery art, as well as the sweet pan de muerto, they will tempt you to forget all about the trick and go straight to the treat. Look for them at all Palace Resorts and Moon Palace Resorts.