The time had finally come to enjoy one of the main motives for coming to Mexico this time of year, and that was for the festivities of Día de los Muertos! Part of my curiosity for the holiday came with seeing the popular Disney film Coco the previous year, and so I wanted to experience it for myself. While the actual holiday was yet to come at this point, Mexico City was hosting a parade for it the Saturday before, and this parade has a really fascinating story behind it.
For those who are fans of the James Bond movie franchise, the film Spectre begins in Mexico City during a parade for Día de los Muertos. As fans of the film enjoyed the opening sequence, some thought that the parade would make for a fun experience, so they made plans to visit Mexico City to see the parade. There was a problem however, and it was that there was no such parade. As city officials found out that there was a high interest for such an event, they decided to start hosting a parade for the holiday in Paseo de la Reforma (which I incorrectly call Plaza de Reforma in the video) right in the heart of Mexico City. With the approaching holiday, there were a lot of great things to see and experience along with the parade.
Along Paseo de la Reforma, there were many of these large sculptures of skulls that were painted with a wide variety of beautiful and colorful designs. Some you could tell the artists really took some time with because of the amount of detail they put into them.
In the shadow of the Angel of Independence, there was another great display along the streets, and that was the Alebrijes that were part of another parade earlier in the month. These incredible sculptures are made of paper-mâché, and they originated from an artist by the name of Pedro Linares. Pedro had once become ill with a high fever that led him to dream of a forest with these colorful creatures that would have a combination of features from different animals, like a rooster with bull horns, or a lion with an eagle’s head, and they were all shouting “Alebrijes”. When he recovered from his illness, he began to recreate these creatures with cardboard and paper-mâché, and over the years others began to make them as well.
Since 2007, the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City has host an event where these Alebrijes are created and featured in a parade, and then put on display in Mexico City. The various ideas that people came up with and the complexity of which some were made was absolutely incredible!
In the spirit of the event, there were a variety of other statues and sculptures on display for the event, and there were vendors who were selling special wares of for holiday, and if you really wanted to get into the spirit of the holiday, some were offering face painting in the spirit of the holiday. Spend enough time in the area, and you would be hard pressed to go more than a couple steps before you would find someone else with their face painted.
Of course, there is the saying of “When in Rome…”, well I went with the phrase of “When in Mexico City for Día de los Muertos…” and joined in on the face-painting fun!
As the time for the parade came closer, the crowds would grow very rapidly. In my experience of working for Disney World and having helped with managing the crowds for parades, I thought that those had a lot of people. That was until I came to this parade and saw that people were climbing onto walls, bus passenger shelters, and up trees to get a better view.
I knew I wasn’t going to get a great spot next to the parade route, so I scouted out a few potential ways to get a view, and found a pair of trees that were next to each other that I could use to climb up a little bit to at least glance over those lined along the streets. It wasn’t perfect, but it did help out a little.
The parade itself was really neat as there were large groups of people dressed in attire of past civilizations such as the Aztec people, as well as floats designed fit with the styles of the Día de los Muertos holiday. Further back in the parade, there were giant puppets that would dance along the route.
After the parade, as everyone made their way out of the heart of Mexico City, the subways became incredibly crowded as the scores of people made their way out. In some cases, you really had to force your way into a train or else you would miss out on it. If you do go to the parade and are taking the Metro to get around, it may be worth the extra time spent in the area enjoying one of the area restaurants or some of the beautiful plazas to save some of the trouble of boarding the busy subway.
After enjoying the atmosphere of the parade, the next couple days would be spent enjoying the amusement parks of Mexico City.
See more of the 2018 Mexico Trip:
1: The Journey South / 2: A Day in Monterrey / 3: More Mexican Coasters / 4: Exploring Guadalajara /
5: Looking for Guadalajara Coasters / 6: Selva Magica / 7: A Night of Lucha Libre / 8: Cancun / 9: Back to Mexico City /
10: Día de los Muertos Parade / 11: La Feria Chapultepec Magico / 12: Six Flags Mexico / 13: ¡Kataplum! /
14: Día de los Muertos in Mixqic