ALL SAINT’S DAY, THE DEAD GET THEIR DUE
The next holiday is Día de los Inocentes, not to be confused with December’s Día de los Santos Inocentes, which serves as Mexico’s answer to “April Fools Day.” Instead, Nov. 1 is All Saint’s Day, and it’s when Mexican families finish setting up their altares de muertos (altars to the dead). A typical altar consists of a table decorated with the departed’s picture on the mantle, surrounded by his or her favorite food and drink.
Many places hold contests that reward the most original altares, which only reinforces the festive air around this folkloric holiday. Cozumel Palace will hold one of these contests, so make sure to drop by and sample some of the unique seasonal tastes, with Pan de Muerto as the most familiar offering: It’s similar to a sweet roll covered in granulated sugar, and decorated with bread “bones” that is often paired with traditional hot chocolate.
The night’s celebrations move from homes and restaurants to a fitting place: the local cemetery. Yup, Mexico truly moves the party to the place where their muertitos (the endearing term given to the departed) lie, in a loving act of remembrance filled with song, drink, and the reassurance of peace in the afterlife.
DEAD MEN RISING
The vigil takes us into the third day of celebration, the actual Día de Muertos (Nov. 2). You may also notice costumed people making the rounds, but they mostly dress up as calaveras and catrinas, the traditional depiction of death popularized by the revered artist and engraver José Guadalupe Posada in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. While these three days are the official dates, Mexico revs up for the Days of the Dead from early October onwards, so keep an eye open for all sorts of events related to the season at all Palace Resorts. Walk among the decorated tombstones, breathe in the sweet smell of cempasúchil (Mexican marigold, the flower of the dead), and make a toast for those who have already left us. They’ll be smiling upon you, amigo.