In San Miguel de Allende, and throughout the villages and cities of Mexico, Halloween comes in a different shape and size than most pumpkin celebrations in the USA.  Here in the land of history and endless celebrations, towns turn themselves upside down to celebrate “Dia de los Muertos” also known as “Day of the Dead”

Through the country, Dia de los Muertos is one of the most colorful and charming holidays of the year. It is the time when Mexicans welcome the dead back to earth for a visit, even while mocking death itself. In our home town of San Miguel de Allende, there are several days of celebrating that are very much alive and well.

Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life.

There are some foods that are traditionally eaten during the Day of the Dead season in Mexico, or placed on altars as offerings for the spirits. The spirits are thought to consume the essence of the foods; after the holiday has passed, the living dismantle the altar and may consume whatever is left.  Pan de Muerto is the bread that is prepared and eaten during the Day of the Dead season. It is an essential element of the altar, and perhaps the food item which is most closely associated with the holiday.

Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.

The following day,  the action moves to the cemetery. Just a short drive from our vacation home in San Miguel, the Pantheón on Ancha de San Antonio will be bustling for days beforehand with people streaming in and out with buckets and mops, rakes and hoes, fresh flowers and candles. Graves will be freshly whitewashed, weeds pulled, tombs decorated. By mid-afternoon, the crowds pour in for an all-day party and an all-night vigil.

It might seem like a day that concentrates on death would be somber and silent. But remember, this is Mexico! Dia de los Muertos is a warm and happy day—for remembering tender moments, smiling memories. It’s day to celebrate who and what they were.

Make plans to put this celebration on your “Bucket List” and when you do, come stay with us in our beautiful estate and rental home in San Miguel.