DÍA DE MUER­TOS: SIX OF THE BEST

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The new one

Mex­ico City first put on a Día de Muer­tos street-pa­rade as a favour to the mak­ers of the 2015 Bond film Spec­tre. It has since be­come an es­tab­lished event, with gi­ant calav­era pup­pets loom­ing over thou­sands of cos­tumed dancers.

The au­then­tic one

West of the cap­i­tal, Pátzcuaro hosts Mex­ico’s best-known tra­di­tional Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions. Watch pa­rades and craft mar­kets in town, or head out to lake­side vil­lages such as Tz­intzuntzan to see ceme­ter­ies alive with blos­soms.

The cul­tural one

In Oax­aca City, vi­brant fes­tiv­i­ties in­clude sand sculp­tures, com­parsas (satir­i­cal fancy-dress groups) and con­certs in the main ceme­tery: the Pan­teón Gen­eral. A beau­ti­ful night-time vigil is held nearby in Santa Cruz Xox­o­cotlán.

The high­brow one

Aguas­calientes is home to the ex­cel­lent Museo Na­cional de la Muerte, ded­i­cated to Mex­ico’s favourite sub­ject – death. This high­land city is a nat­u­ral fit then for the 10 - day Fes­ti­val de Calav­eras, where skele­tal im­agery runs riot.

The theme-park one

Xcaret is a long-stand­ing amuse­ment park on the Riv­iera Maya, whose Mex­i­can cul­tural pro­gramme in­cludes a three-day Día de Muer­tos ex­trav­a­ganza. The mix of mu­sic, dance and theatre feels at­trac­tive rather than cheesy.

The ul­tra-au­then­tic one

Po­much is a dusty town in the state of Cam­peche, fa­mous for its bak­eries, and ar­guably the most an­cient ap­proach to the Day of the Dead: bones of an­ces­tors are un­earthed, cleaned and put on show. It’s macabre, but still fes­tive.

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