On the 1st and 2nd of November, the streets) with the Day of the Dead. A loud and vibrant festival, people dress up as skeletons, paint skulls on their faces and accompany the deathly make-up with luscious flowers and colourful clothes. But this festival is anything but scary. This is where people get together to celebrate the lives of family members, loved ones and ancestors who have passed away.
And whilst you might be thousands of kilometres away from Mexico, there are plenty of ways to recreate the raucous festival right here in the UK.
Set up an altar
At the centre of all Day of the Dead celebrations is the altar. These aren’t altars for worshipping; they are built to welcome spirits back the land of the living. To tempt them back, the altar is loaded with water for refreshment, food for sustenance, family photos for treasured memories, marigold flowers for beauty and a candle to light the spirits’ way.
They are easy to construct in your own home. Consider also adding some incense too to purify the air around the altar and make it even more welcoming for the spirits who want to visit.
Dress up as Catrina
Catrina is the unofficial face of the Day of the Dead festival. Just about every woman dresses as her over the festive period. In fact, November 2014 saw a record 500 Catrina’s gathered in Mexico City. Created by artist Diego Rivera, he boldy reimagined a skeleton from fellow artist José Guadalupe Posada’s paintings and dressed her in large, opulent hat, blooming flowers and colourful clothes and named her Catrina. Her role is watch over the bones of the dead.
Not only is she a symbol of the festival, but she is also a female icon who is celebrated all around Mexico.
Attend the 2022 Day of the Dead Festival in London
The festival is celebrated all over the world with equal gusto. London is joining the celebrations this year with events across the city. From candlelit orchestras to spooky acrobatic shows, dance parties, authentic food and arts and crafts workshops, simply look at train times to London and pick a train that suits you, don your homemade Catrina costume and head out to celebrate the lives of loved ones who are no longer with us.
Bake ‘pan de muerto’
Pan de muerto means ‘bread of the dead‘ , which, as unappetising as it sounds, is absolutely delicious. The sweet bread is normally made with anise seeds and decorated with bones and skulls. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your celebrations.