The popular holiday Día de Los Muertos is getting ever more popular, and over-crowded, as people head for the places most highlighted by tourist publications. It reminds me of the museum photos where crowds are standing 10-15 deep in front of the relatively small Mona Lisa with no time to think much about the picture, the artist, the times, or how it affects them.
If you want to celebrate this day, here are some recommendations in the order of Great, Better, Best.
GREAT: If you want a Times-Square-on-New-Years-Eve experience, there are several amazing choices that most travel sites recommend: Oaxaca, Janitzio Island and Patzcuaro, Mixquic, Mérida, Aguascalientes, Riviera Maya, Chiapa de Corzo, Campeche, Cuernavaca, and San Miguel de Allende.
|Janitzio Island and Patzcuaro|
BETTER: if massive crowds aren’t your thing, and if the meaning of this holiday is important to you, and you want to be embraced by families and neighbors honoring their departed loved ones, it’s good to remember that Día de Los Muertos is celebrated everywhere in Mexico. Pick a place that interests you and discover its uniquely charming way of celebrating the holiday.
|Ajijic family altar|
|Found on one of the street altars here in Ajijic|
BEST: However, the one best place would be to celebrate in your own neighborhood, town and home. Delve into your own ancestry, create your own altar, design your own family tradition, make this very special day your own.
Last year, when I moved to Ajijic, Mexico, I decided to stay home and experience the holiday through this small village. I explored the tradition and meanings of the holiday electronically and wrote a series of blog posts about it. I wound up creating my own altar and thinking deeply about my ancestors and how they enriched my life.
|My in-progress altar from 2017|
As you think about this celebration, I have 3 recommendations:
- Rewatch the movie, “Coco.” Even watching the brilliant trailer will get you in the mood to contemplate this important part of life.
- Read the series of blogs that I will repost to help you better understand the details of this tradition.
- Make the holiday your own.
All of the Day of the Dead posts from last year are available on the Day of the Dead tab at the top of the page.