the day of the dead 2023

The Day of the Dead 2023: A Vibrant Celebration Guide

As we approach November, we can’t help but get excited for the Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated on November 2nd. Known as Día de los Muertos, this unique event is a time of year when the souls of the deceased are believed to return to visit their living family members. In 2023, the Day of the Dead will once again be a colorful and vibrant affair, filled with rich traditions and heartfelt remembrances.

During Día de los Muertos, families and friends come together to create beautiful altars adorned with marigold flowers, candles, and offerings for their departed loved ones. This holiday is a harmonious blend of indigenous rituals and Catholic beliefs, with many festivities taking place at cemeteries, in homes, and throughout cities and towns. For those looking to experience this iconic celebration, Mexico City is a popular destination offering a wide array of events and activities centered around the Day of the Dead.

So, as 2023’s Day of the Dead approaches, let us embrace this awe-inspiring celebration that unites us in honoring the lives of those who have passed. Through the joyous and imaginative traditions that make this holiday so special, we cherish the memories of our dearly departed loved ones and find comfort in the idea that their souls continue to be with us.

Understanding the Day of the Dead

We’d like to introduce you to the fascinating Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated on November 2. This unique celebration combines deep-rooted Mexican culture and ancient traditions, honoring and commemorating the souls of the deceased who are believed to visit their living family members.

day of the dead flower - Emily @emms_fotografia

To better understand the history of the Day of the Dead, we must first delve into its roots. The holiday has its origins in the indigenous customs of the Aztec, Maya, and other Mesoamerican cultures. The blending of these traditions with those introduced by Spanish conquistadors ultimately gave rise to the modern-day celebration.

One of the most important aspects of the Day of the Dead is the creation of intricate altars, known as “ofrendas”. Families build and decorate these altars with photographs, candles, and various objects that represent the interests and hobbies of their deceased loved ones. Additionally, bright orange marigold flowers, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods and drinks of the departed are placed on the ofrendas as welcoming offerings.

During the celebration, participants often dress in colorful costumes, donning skull face paint, and parading through the streets. In Mexico, the holiday is not viewed as a time of sadness but rather a time of celebration, joy, and remembrance. Traditional foods and drinks, such as “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead) and “atole”, are enjoyed by all and help to create an inviting atmosphere for the visiting spirits.

In recent years, the Day of the Dead has gained international recognition and appreciation. Countless people worldwide are embracing the customs, symbolism, and vibrant spirit of the holiday. We hope this brief introduction to Day of the Dead has piqued your interest and encouraged you to explore the rich traditions and culture of this unique Mexican holiday further.


The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is an important holiday in Mexican culture, with roots dating back thousands of years. It is derived from the indigenous traditions of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica from the Aztecs and Nahua people.

Traditions of the day of the deads

During the time of the Aztecs, the celebration was initially held during the summer months, following their ancient Aztec calendar. It was a time to honor and remember those who had passed away. The Aztec rituals eventually blended with other Mesoamerican rituals that honored the dead.

We find that the Day of the Dead has evolved over the centuries, and today, it is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. It is widely known as a time for families to welcome the souls of their deceased loved ones back to the living world. These two days have become a central part of Mexican culture and a reflection of the concepts of death and afterlife, which differ significantly from those in many other cultures.

As the festivities unfold, Mexico City becomes a vibrant and lively center for the celebration, as well as other areas throughout the country. The holiday showcases a beautiful blend of traditional customs and modern interpretations, all based on the deep-seated influence of Mexican culture and traditions that are present today.

We hope you find this brief introduction to the origins of the Day of the Dead helpful in understanding the significance it holds in Mexico and for people of Mexican ancestry worldwide. May this ancient celebration inspire us all to cherish the memories and connections we share with our loved ones who have passed on.

Significance of Dates

As we approach the end of October and the beginning of November, a series of important dates make up the Day of the Dead celebrations. Let’s take a closer look at these dates, their meanings, and how they’re observed.

October 31: All Hallows’ Eve marks the start of this three-day celebration. While people in some cultures dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, in Mexico and other countries, preparations for the Day of the Dead begin. Altars are built, and offerings are gathered to welcome the deceased.

November 1: Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents), also known as All Saints’ Day, is dedicated to remembering and honoring the children who have passed away. Families clean and decorate graves, placing toys, flowers, and other items that hold sentimental value. It’s a time for both reflection and joyful remembrance.

November 2: Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the main day of this significant celebration. On this day, families gather to honor deceased loved ones, including adults. They share stories, prepare dishes enjoyed by the departed, and commemorate their lives. Altars are adorned with marigolds and candles, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for the visiting souls.

day of the deads nov 2

These three days play a vital role in the Day of the Dead festivities, allowing people to come together and preserve the memories of their departed loved ones. We cherish these days as they offer us a moment to pause, reflect, and honor those who are no longer with us physically but remain in our hearts and thoughts.

Traditional Symbols

As we celebrate Day of the Dead in 2023, let’s explore some of the most significant traditional symbols representing this colorful and meaningful holiday. From altars to marigolds, each symbol carries a special meaning and contributes to the unique atmosphere of the celebration.

Altars and Ofrendas: During the Day of the Dead, we create ofrendas (altars) to honor and remember our deceased loved ones. These altars often display photographs, favorite items, and food of the person being remembered. By setting up these ofrendas, it is believed that the spirits of the deceased will return to visit and spend time with their loved ones.

altars and ofrendas
This is the altar to my grandfather.

Skulls and La Catrina: Calaveras (skulls) and La Catrina, the elegant skeleton woman, are some of the most recognizable symbols of the Day of the Dead. These skeletal figures represent the idea that death is a natural part of life, and our ancestors should be celebrated rather than mourned. La Catrina, in particular, symbolizes the blending of pre-Hispanic and European traditions in Mexico’s cultural history.

catrina day of the dead

Marigolds: Bright orange and yellow marigold flowers, known as cempasúchil, are used to decorate ofrendas and gravesites during the Day of the Dead. Their vibrant color and strong fragrance are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to their living relatives.

Sugar Skulls: Also known as calaveras de azúcar, sugar skulls are colorful, decorative representations of skulls made from sugar. They are often adorned with intricate patterns and designs, and sometimes feature the name of a departed loved one. These beautiful creations serve as an offering to the deceased and are a reminder of the sweetness of life.

Pan de Muerto: A delicious Day of the Dead tradition is the consumption of Pan de Muerto, or bread of the dead. This sweet, round bread is often flavored with orange blossom, anise, or other spices, and adorned with bone-shaped patterns. Pan de Muerto is left as an offering on the ofrendas or shared with family and friends in remembrance of the deceased.

pan de muerto - bread of the dead

In conclusion, understanding these traditional symbols helps us better appreciate the depth and richness of the Day of the Dead celebration. As we honor our ancestors and embrace the cycle of life, we can cherish the connections we share with family, culture, and history.

Celebration Elements

As we approach the Day of the Dead in 2023, let’s take a moment to appreciate the diverse elements that make this celebration so unique and special. Día de los Muertos is a time for families to come together and honor the memories of their loved ones who have passed away. Many of these cherished rituals revolve around certain key aspects, including the cemetery, music, food, and more.

One of the most important places during this holiday is the cemetery. Families gather at the gravesites of their dearly departed, cleaning and decorating them with candles, marigolds, and other vibrant flowers. The flickering candlelight creates an atmosphere of warmth and remembrance, as families share fond memories of their loved ones.

Music plays a big role in the festivities, as it helps to create a joyful ambiance that honors the deceased. Whether it’s traditional mariachi bands or other local musicians, the upbeat melodies keep spirits high as we reminisce about the past and celebrate the lives of those who have left us.

A variety of delicious foods, such as tamales, mole, and sugar skulls, are prepared and enjoyed during this time. These special treats bring families together around the table, offering comfort and tradition amidst the celebration.

In some regions, you might also encounter alebrijes, fantastical creatures often made of wood or papier-mâché. These colorful and intricate sculptures symbolize the spirit world, adding a touch of whimsy to the holiday.


Visiting museums and cultural centers during this time is another great way to experience the rich history and artistic expressions of the Day of the Dead. Here, you can explore exhibits showcasing traditional altars, artwork, and other elements that highlight the beauty and depth of this cherished holiday.

As we look forward to Day of the Dead 2023, let’s keep these celebration elements in mind, embracing the opportunity to connect with our traditions and honor the memories of those who have touched our lives.

Day of the Dead Foods

During the Day of the Dead celebration, which takes place from midnight on October 31st to November 2nd, various traditional foods are prepared to honor deceased loved ones. We’ll walk you through some of the most popular dishes that are typically enjoyed during this special occasion.

Day of the deads foods

One of the most iconic foods associated with Day of the Dead is Pan de Muerto, or “Bread of the Dead.” This sweet bread is baked in Mexico and usually enjoyed on November 2nd, though many families also prepare a loaf to place on the altar as an offering. Pan de Muerto’s unique flavor comes from its use of anise seeds and orange zest, making it a delicious and symbolic treat to share with family and friends during the festivities.

Tamales are another staple during Day of the Dead celebrations. These delicious, steam-cooked bundles of corn dough filled with various types of meat, vegetables, or cheeses are a popular choice for gatherings due to their versatility and portability. It is believed that the history of tamales can be traced back to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, and they hold an important place in Mexican culinary traditions. Serving tamales during Day of the Dead is a wonderful way to come together and share a communal meal with our loved ones, both living and departed.

In addition to Pan de Muerto and tamales, many families prepare Calabaza en Tacha, or candied pumpkin, as part of their Day of the Dead festivities. This sweet and flavorful dish has its origins in the Mayan culture and is primarily associated with the Yucatan Peninsula. Simmered in syrup until tender and fragrant, Calabaza en Tacha symbolizes the sweetness of life and serves as a delicious reminder of the love we have for those who are no longer with us.

In conclusion, the foods enjoyed during the Day of the Dead are not only delicious and heartfelt tributes to our ancestors, but they also reflect the rich history and culture of Mexico. As we gather around our altars, let us remember the importance of coming together to celebrate the lives of those who have come before us and the deep connections that food can create within our communities.

Dia De Los Muertos in Different Years

As we look back on the celebrations of Dia de Los Muertos over the years, it’s fascinating to see how this important Mexican tradition has evolved and maintained its significance in different times.

In 2018 and 2019, Dia de Los Muertos celebrations were filled with lively parades, traditional ofrendas, and festive markets. Communities gathered to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away, and streets were alive with the sounds of mariachi bands, laughter, and the rustling of marigold petals.

However, when 2020 arrived, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant change in how we celebrated the holiday. In-person gatherings and public events were replaced by virtual ceremonies and smaller family moments. Despite these challenges, the spirit of Dia de Los Muertos remained alive, and people found innovative ways to remember their loved ones, such as creating digital ofrendas and participating in online events.

In 2021 and 2022, as the world gradually adapted to the new normal, Dia de Los Muertos celebrations began to regain their original form. With safety precautions in place, communities cautiously resumed public events and gatherings, blending traditional customs with modern adaptations.

day of the deads parade

Looking ahead to 2023, we anticipate another year of colorful celebrations honoring our deceased loved ones. With a return to more familiar festivities, we can expect events such as parades, concerts, and art exhibitions dedicated to the Day of the Dead across Mexico.

As for the future years (2024-2028), we hope that Dia de Los Muertos will continue to be celebrated with enthusiasm and respect for its rich historical roots. Merging tradition with modernity, we imagine an ongoing evolution of this unique holiday, always embracing its core values of honoring the dead and celebrating the cycle of life.

Throughout the years, one thing remains clear: Dia de Los Muertos is not only a time to remember our loved ones, but also an opportunity to reflect on our connections to the past, present, and future, weaving a tapestry of memories that crosses generations.

Day of the Dead 2023

We’re excited to share information about the Day of the Dead 2023, also known as Día de los Muertos. This traditional Mexican holiday, celebrated on November 2 , is a time when people honor and remember the souls of their deceased loved ones. It’s a beautiful occasion filled with lively colors, fragrant flowers, and delicious food offerings.

Day of the deads mexico city

In 2023, we can anticipate a variety of events and festivities taking place throughout Mexico, especially in places like Oaxaca and Mexico City. These cities are known for their vibrant and elaborate Day of the Dead celebrations .

During the holiday, we can expect to see families gathering at cemeteries to decorate the graves of their loved ones with bright marigold flowers, candles, and the offerings known as ofrendas. In addition to these traditional activities, there will be parades, art exhibitions, and street parties that showcase the rich culture and heritage of this unique holiday.

So, let’s see what else we can look forward to during Day of the Dead 2023:

  • Traditional Altars: Families will create elaborate altars in their homes to welcome the spirits of their departed loved ones. These altars usually include photographs, cherished possessions, food, drinks, and other offerings to attract the spirits.
  • Sugar Skulls: One of the most iconic symbols of Day of the Dead is the sugar skull, a sweet treat decorated with vibrant colors and intricate designs. These skulls represent the deceased and are often used as offerings or given as gifts.
  • Pan de Muerto: This is a special type of bread made especially for Day of the Dead. Its unique, round shape and delicate flavor make it a favorite among celebrants, and it’s often placed on the altars as an offering to the spirits.

We can’t wait to experience the magic and beauty of Day of the Dead 2023. And we hope that you’re as excited as we are to honor and remember the lives of those who have passed on, in this rich and vibrant celebration of life and death.


As we approach the Day of the Dead in 2023, it’s essential to learn about how to prepare for this unique and colorful event. The celebration takes place over several days, from October 31-November 2. Preparations for the Day of the Dead begin at least one week in advance, and some celebrations start as early as October 28 1. Let’s go over some essential preparations for this fascinating cultural experience.

Travel Insurance

Before embarking on our journey to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festivities, it is crucial to consider obtaining travel insurance. Travel insurance not only protects us against unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies or trip cancellations but can also provide peace of mind as we immerse ourselves in the vibrant and spirited celebrations.

Creating Ofrendas

One of the most important aspects of preparing for the Day of the Dead is creating ofrendas, or altars, to honor our deceased loved ones. These intricate displays typically incorporate favorite items, food, and beverages of those who have passed away, as well as photographs, candles, incense, and colorful decorations like marigold flowers and papel picado, the art of creating intricate designs in colorful paper 2.

Dressing Up

To fully embrace the spirit of the Day of the Dead, we should also prepare by dressing up in traditional costumes, such as La Catrina for women. The iconic figure of La Catrina is a female skeleton adorned with vibrant makeup and an extravagant hat. Men can prepare by dressing as El Catrin, a male counterpart of La Catrina. Remember to include colorful makeup and clothing as part of your attire 3.

catrina - day of the dead 2023

Joining Festivities

Lastly, as we prepare to partake in the Day of the Dead celebrations, let’s not forget to plan which events and activities we want to attend. There are countless processions, parades, and markets to explore, as well as traditional performances and authentic cuisine to sample. By planning our route and events beforehand, we can make the most of our time and fully experience the magic and wonder of this unique celebration.


  1. Pilot – Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead Festival: In-Depth Travel Guide 2023.
  2. Good Housekeeping – Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) 2023: Date, History and Traditions.
  3. National Today – Day of the Dead – November 2, 2023.

Regional Variation

In our exploration of the Day of the Dead celebrations in 2023, we want to highlight the beautiful regional variations that exist across Mexico. Two places that are particularly known for their unique and captivating celebrations are Oaxaca and Pátzcuaro.

In Oaxaca, the festivities are deeply rooted in indigenous traditions, blending with Catholic customs brought by the Spanish. The city comes alive with vibrant colors, and the streets are adorned with elaborate altars dedicated to deceased loved ones. At night, the cemeteries become the center stage for the celebrations, with candlelit gatherings by families that involve singing, dancing, and sharing stories about their dearly departed.

On the other hand, Pátzcuaro, a small town in Michoacán, offers a more intimate and spiritual experience. Its Day of the Dead celebration is centered around the captivating Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead) on November 1st. During this night, the local people light thousands of candles on the Island of Janitzio, transforming the cemetery into a mesmerizing beacon visible from afar. Families gather to hold all-night vigils by the gravesites, offering food, drinks, and prayers to the departed. The event is famous for the ritual called La Danza de los Viejitos (The Dance of the Little Old Men), where local dancers dressed as elderly men perform a symbolic and reverent dance.

These regional variations, while different in their approach, share the same core values of honoring and celebrating the lives of those who have passed. By taking part in these festivities, we get a better understanding of the role this beautiful tradition plays in Mexican culture, and we are fortunate to be able to witness such unforgettable celebrations.

We absolutely love celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico, and there are a few locations that stand out as truly exceptional for experiencing this unique holiday in 2023. Each location offers its own special touch to the festivities, making it enjoyable for everyone who participates.

Oaxaca is one of our top places to celebrate the Day of the Dead. With its vibrant atmosphere and deep roots in traditional customs, it’s no wonder this city is hailed as one of the best places to experience the Day of the Dead. The city comes to life with colorful parades and beautifully adorned altars. Another popular location for celebrating the Day of the Dead is Mexico City. With its grand parades and magnificent displays, it’s easy to see why Mexico City hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the country.

downtown mexico city traditions

In the heart of Mexico City, you can find the Zócalo, a well-known public square that is transformed into a bustling hub of Day of the Dead festivities. The Zócalo is adorned with striking ofrendas and hosts lively events, making it a must-see spot during the celebrations. Another iconic Mexico City location that embraces the Day of the Dead charm is the Paseo de la Reforma. This grand avenue is lined with stunning displays, interactive installations, and hosts the famous Grand Parade.

For those looking to experience a more ancient Day of the Dead celebration, the Teotihuacan pyramids are an ideal choice. Surrounded by pre-Hispanic history, this site comes alive with a mix of both modern and traditional customs during the festivities.

Overall, we believe immersing yourself in the Day of the Dead celebrations throughout these locations will leave you with unforgettable memories, and an authentic appreciation of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t hesitate to improve your Spanish comprehension to make your experience even more memorable!

Celebrations of the Day of the Dead Mexico City 2023

We are excited to share with you the upcoming celebrations for the Day of the Dead in Mexico City in 2023! This unique, vibrant, and meaningful event is a must-see for anyone visiting Mexico at this time of the year. Keep in mind that the official 2023 dates for the event have yet to be announced, so make sure to check for updates here.

celebrations in mexico city

The Day of the Dead, locally known as Día de Muertos, is an annual tradition where families come together to remember and honor their deceased loved ones. There’s a belief that during this time, the dead come closer to be with those of us who are living. This beautiful custom is unique to Mexico.

Mexico City’s Day of the Dead Parade is one of the main highlights in the capital. With more than 20 events and parades occurring throughout the city, we can expect plenty of mesmerizing performances, colorful displays, and artistic expression during the 2023 celebrations. Our favorite aspect of the event has to be the beautiful and intricate altars created by families and communities to honor their loved ones.

Of course, to truly experience the Day of the Dead, you must not miss the chance to partake in some delicious traditional dishes. Indulge in sweet offerings like pan de muerto, a special bread made exclusively for the celebration, and sugar skulls that adorn the altars.

To make your visit even more memorable, why not participate in some local customs and join the community for the well-known event of La Alumbrada? During this time, people gather at the cemeteries to light candles and spend the night with their departed loved ones, welcoming them back for a brief moment. It’s truly an unforgettable experience!

We can’t wait to experience the Day of the Dead in Mexico City in 2023, and we hope you’ll join in this amazing celebration. Remember to keep an eye out for the official dates, and prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind event filled with joy, love, and remembrance.

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

The Day of the Dead in Oaxaca is a remarkable event that we have the privilege of experiencing. This festival takes place on October 31, November 1, and November 2 every year, when the veil between the living and the spirit world is believed to be lifted, allowing the deceased to return for a visit. Oaxaca City, in southern Mexico, is an excellent place to celebrate this annual tradition.

Dia de Muertos @emms_fotografia

During our stay in Oaxaca, we get to witness various customs and practices unique to this region. One of the essential aspects of the festivities is setting up altars or ofrendas in homes and public spaces. These altars are adorned with vibrant marigolds, candles, incense, and offerings like food, drinks, and mementos that hold special significance for the deceased.

In addition to the altars, we participate in the comparsas or parades. These parades feature locals dressed in imaginative costumes, often depicting skulls and skeletons. Traditional music, dancing, and joyous atmosphere fill the streets of Oaxaca, showcasing the celebration of life and death.

Another important part of the Day of the Dead is visiting the cemeteries where our loved ones are buried. We spend time cleaning and decorating the graves with flowers, candles, and offerings. During the night, the cemeteries are illuminated beautifully, and families come together to share stories, prayers, and honor the memories of those who have passed away.

Finally, we cannot forget to mention the delicious foods and drinks that are enjoyed during the Day of the Dead. Some of our favorites include pan de muerto (bread of the dead), a sweet, aromatic bread shaped like a skull, and calaveritas de azúcar (sugar skulls), which are edible sugar art. For beverages, we enjoy traditional atole, a warm, corn-based drink, and mezcal, a famous Oaxacan spirit.

In essence, our time in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead is a profound experience that allows us to witness an astonishing blend of tradition, culture, and celebration as we remember and honor the souls of our loved ones.


We had the chance to experience Mixquic’s Mexico City Day of the Dead tour during our visit to Mexico City in 2023. The unique Day of the Dead celebrations in San Andres Mixquic truly symbolize the essence of the ritual of death. The atmosphere in this suburb of Mexico City is one-of-a-kind, with bright colors, flowers, and exciting rituals that honor the past in a lively street party.


The tour we took was a small group tour with a maximum of 10 people, which allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the festivities. It started at 5:00 PM and went on until 8:30 PM, giving us ample time to appreciate the local customs and cultural practices. One of the highlights of our visit to Mixquic was attending the Mixquic Day of the Dead Celebration, which included a visit to the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle and the Pantheon Mixquic Show of the Lightened.

During our time in Mixquic, we noticed people from different age groups (from ages 0 to 99) partaking in the celebrations. The event lasted for 9 hours, making it an unforgettable day for anyone who had the opportunity to witness it.

Overall, visiting Mixquic and experiencing the Day of the Dead celebrations firsthand was a truly memorable event for us. It gave us a deeper understanding of Mexican culture and the unique way they honor and celebrate their departed loved ones. We highly recommend anyone visiting Mexico City during the Day of the Dead festivities to take part in this remarkable event.

Patzcuaro Day of the Dead

We are excited to share our experience of the Day of the Dead in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán in 2023. This unique celebration is a blend of pre-Hispanic rituals and Catholic traditions, and offers a remarkable way for families to remember their departed loved ones.

Our journey began in the lively town of Pátzcuaro, which is well-known for its crafts and lively atmosphere. The streets were adorned with colorful papel picado banners, marigold flowers, and traditional altars dedicated to the deceased. These beautiful ofrendas were filled with candles, photographs, and delicious foods that are said to guide the souls of the departed back to the world of the living.


We couldn’t resist indulging our taste buds in some traditional Day of the Dead treats like pan de muerto, a sweet bread adorned with bone-shaped dough, and sugar skulls, which are not only delicious but also symbolize the fleeting nature of life. The locals were eager to share their customs with us, and we felt warmly welcomed as we participated in the festivities.

As night fell, we made our way to the nearby island of Janitzio, a focal point for the Day of the Dead celebration on Lake Pátzcuaro. Thousands of people gathered at the island’s cemetery to honor their loved ones with flickering candles, music, and heartfelt prayers. We were truly moved by the beauty and serenity of the midnight ceremony. It was a poignant reminder that, even in death, love persists and transcends the boundaries of the living world.

Visiting Pátzcuaro during the Day of the Dead was an unforgettable experience that has forever changed our perspective on life and death. The vibrant customs and deep-rooted traditions that guide this beautiful celebration emphasize the importance of honoring our loved ones and cherishing the memories we share. We feel incredibly fortunate to have been part of this meaningful and soul-stirring event.

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