Día De Los Muertos Celebrations Are Back With A Vengeance, Here’s How Mexico City Celebrated

If we had to describe 2020, it would best be described as the year without a Christmas, a year without a summer, the year without a school year, and the year without compassion. It has even been described as the “lost year.” One of the most cherished traditions that so many of us had to give up (at least in its traditional form) was Día de Muertos. Due to the pandemic, getting together huddled with families just wasn’t an option and cities across the U.S. and Latin America were forced to cancel some of the largest public celebrations in order to reign in the pandemic.

As a result of vaccines and case rates falling, Día de Muertos was once again celebrated this year. And it seems that there was a lot of pent-up demand to celebrate as events, parades, cemeteries, and homes were full of people honoring those they’ve lost.

Mexico City’s famed Día de los Muertos parade was back and bigger than ever.

Carlos Tischler / Eyepix Group / Getty Images

After the devastation caused by the pandemic, Mexico City threw a massive welcome back party with what may have been the city’s largest Día de Muertos parade ever. Thousands of locals and tourists crowded onto the Paseo de la Reforma — the city’s main boulevard — for a chance to celebrate the beauty of the traditional holiday.

Although the parade itself is only a recent phenomenon — largely made permanent following its appearance in a James Bond film — it has become one of the city’s largest attractions. People dressed up and proudly sported bright depictions of calaveras and catrinas on their faces to celebrate.

There was also a special altar in the historical center of Mexico City dedicated to those who died of COVID-19. Relatives were allowed into a fenced-off plaza and offered equipment to print out photos of their loved ones, which they could then pin, along with handwritten messages on a black wall. It was a quiet, solemn remembrance in a country where coronavirus deaths touched almost all extended families.

The scene was colorful and festive, just as Día de los Muertos is meant to be.

Claudio Cruz / AFP / Getty Images

Although many dressed up in their finest outfits, most spectators along the parade route also wore face masks and practiced social distancing as best they could.

“I love coming to see this tradition we Mexicans can’t lose sight of,” Leticia Galvan, a 67-year-old resident told the Washington Post.

The return to tradition comes after Mexico was devastated by one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world.

Mexico was absolutely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, often competing with the U.S. for the top spot in terms of deaths per capita. In fact, the country still has one of the world’s highest death tolls with nearly 300,000 people gone — even if that number is widely cited as being far too low because of government reporting.

As a result, most of last year’s Día de Muertos celebrations were cancelled as governments urged the public to stay at home, going as far as to order cemeteries to close during festivities traditionally held from November 1-2.

But with nearly half the population now fully vaccinated against the virus, Mexico has, in recent weeks, significantly reduced daily infections, enabling the capital and most other regions of the country to lift restrictions on the public.

But celebrations were back in place all over the world.

omgitsjustintime / Instagram

In cities and towns from Los Angeles to New York, colorful celebrations of the traditional holiday were on full display. In New York, the famed Rockefeller Center featured giant dragons and a feathered jaguar along with a collection of art to commemorate the special holiday. There was also a traditional ofrenda to remember those who passed away due to COVID-19.

While in LA, there was a bilingual remembrance service with performances by Mariachi Tapatío and Las Estrella Folklorico Dancers.

Did you celebrate Día de Muertos or create an ofrenda? Let us know in the comments.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

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