Dia De Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta
Visiting Puerto Vallarta near the end of October as they lead up to Dia de Los Muertos celebrations, is quite different from our Halloween traditions in North America. Unlike Halloween when death is something to be feared, in Puerto Vallarta, it is something to be celebrated, honoring the dead. The basic belief is that the human soul doesn’t die, so when one passes their soul can travel to and from this world and the afterlife to visit.
It is a week-long celebration with art shows, parades, and dances along with other festivities where Art, religion, life, death, sadness, and humor all come together. It is topped off with “La Caravana de la Muerte” Parade at the end of the week followed by a big party and fireworks.
Everywhere you look you throughout the week you will find bright colours and flowers. The Malecon, the Plaza de Armas and the areas surrounding are all brightly decorated with the Dia de Los Muertos altars from different organizations, restaurants, hotels and community groups. There is so much creativity within the altars that are assembled to commemorate the dead and call back the spirit of the loved ones for the celebration.
The meaning of the altars for El Dia De Los Muertos
The altars themselves are decorated with the deceased’s former possessions ( or something that represents them in some way) as well as objects that symbolize things the deceased valued, owned or found meaningful ( in the case of someone famous). The traditional alters include a cross, candles, flowers ( the bright and vividly coloured Marigolds are the traditional flowers used), water, bright tissue paper, photographs of the deceased, and the traditional Pan de Muertos. All the of the objects represent the 4 elements: earth ( food), water ( to quench their thirst from their long journey) fire ( candles) and wind ( colourful tissue paper blowing in the wind) to help the deceased journey back.
The cross also symbolizes the four cardinal points needed so that the deceased can find their way back to visit family and friends.
Although Halloween is celebrated on October 31st in North America, Nov 1st is El Dia de Los Inocentes ( honouring children that have passed) and Nov 2nd is when the Dia de Los Muertos ( adults) are remembered. Families visit the cemeteries during these two days to celebrate their loved ones who have passed. It is believed that on el Día de Los Muertos, the dead return to their former homes to visit their families.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be in the midst of the celebrations at this time? I loved all the incredible decorations and how everyone joined on the festivities… great to see the efforts from the hotels, restaurants and the community.
Plan a visit down to Puerto Vallarta at this time of the year, you won’t be disappointed! Head on over to Puerto Vallarta’s Dia de Los Muertos page for more information.
*Disclosure – Although I have worked with Puerto Vallarta Tourism in the past, this post was not part of any campaign, nor is it sponsored in any way. All opinions are my own.