Experience the Day of the Dead Traditions in Mexico City

What is the Best time to visit, to experience the Day of the Dead traditions?

I suggest visiting Mexico City for the Day of the Dead in October for the events and parade and being there for 1 and 2 November. 

The best time is for you to go to Mexico at the end of October, to be there before 1 and 2 November. I arrived on 31 October in Mexico City and it was the year before the parade started that was inspired by Spectre.

Since the movie, Spectre has inspired the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, you'll want to go earlier to experience the events and parades and main parade. So, check when the parade is likely to be on. In 2023 it appears to be sometime in the last weekend in October, and if you are planning to go, please confirm as it looked like the events were from 21 October to 2 November.

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Day of the Dead

On the 1st of November and 2nd of November, the Day of the Dead is celebrated.

The first day is dedicated to children. And, the second of November is for adults.

 

Every year on Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, his family shared the memories of relatives who had passed on. ~ Coco [Disney Pixar]

 

Where Can You Book a Day of the Dead Tour?

I booked a tour planned by Pata de Perro DF for the second day. I went on the waiting list to book the tour in advance. Please note, that the tour can differ from the one I went on.

On this tour, I traveled by small bus to three towns in the Milpa Alta area of Mexico City.

There, I experienced the Day of the Dead traditions with my daughter and a group of other people on the tour with two tour guides who spoke Mexican and English.

My daughter and I did the tour in 2014. So the experience can vary now. You can see my pictorial experience of the first town follows.

De Ofrendas Dia de Muertos

Sign found on the walking tour at San Pedtro Atocpan

San Pedtro Atocpan

In the first town, San Pedtro Atocpan, I walked around the town,

Then, I ate lunch with the people on the tour.

And, I visited some churches. In the churches, I saw offerings and altars.

And, I walked around the cemetery and saw the decorations.

Pink Church in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City

1 Ofrenda in the Church

I saw firsthand the Day of the Dead traditions of the Ofrenda in the church.

In the churches, I saw how the Day of the Dead traditions have transcended cultures. And, I saw the offerings and altars.

You can see the pictures below to get an idea of the items they use. Like, vegetables, fruit, and flowers.

Church in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Offerings and Altar in the church on the Day of the Dead Church in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Day of the Dead Traditions Offerings in a Church in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Offerings in the church for the Day of the Dead in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Inside the church on Day of the Dead in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Altar and Ofrenda for the Day of the Dead Traditions inside the Church in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City
Ofrenda in the church for Day of the Dead Traditions in San Pedtro Atocpan Mexico City

2 Tour Lunch

I experienced a traditional Mexican lunch with the people on the tour. And  Mole was on the menu.

Tour lunch on the Day of the Dead with mole
Chillis in a shop in Mexico City

From outside the building nearby, I was taking photos of the colored papers, Papel Picado.

The people inside said to the tour guides that I could go in and take photos inside the building. I thanked them as it was very kind of them.

The papers came in different colors blue, yellow, purple, green, white, pink, orange, and black.

Papel Picado Day of the Dead Traditions

Papel Picado

3 Day of the Dead Traditions at the Church

I walked to the church and experienced the Day of the Dead traditions.

Children were dressed up in costumes like skeletons. They had bags filled with lollies they had collected. Our tour guide took lollies to give to children on the day.

This experience reminded me of the Halloween tradition.

Church in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City
Church and flowers in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City

4 Cemetery on the Day of the Dead Traditions

I walked around the cemetery and experienced the Day of the Dead traditions.

In the cemetery, I saw relatives and friends near the graves. They busy themselves decorating the graves.

I saw flowers of different colors. They use many orange marigolds and gladioli.

And, I could smell incense burning. I saw the decorated skeletons adorn the graves.

Cemetery with Day of the Dead decorations in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City
Cemetery with Day of the Dead decorations in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City
Cemetery with Day of the Dead flowers in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico

5 The View

I looked at the view across the town from the church.

View in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City

6 Dog on the Street

On the walk through the street, I saw a dog sleeping in the street of the town in Milpa Alta. I saw many dogs roaming around freely.

Dog sleeping on a street in San Pedtro Atocpan, Milpa Alta, Mexico City

Tips for Visiting Mexico City

  1. Learn Spanish for travel. For instance, we needed to be able to speak Spanish to buy tickets at the train station. We are grateful to find a lady who bought our tickets and directed us to the correct platform.
  2. Catch official taxis at taxi ranks only. We are grateful to have found taxi drivers who spoke English at the official taxi ranks.
  3. Ask the taxi driver how much the fare will cost upfront. So that, you make sure you have the cash in Mexican Pesos to pay for the ride. I had to show the taxi driver that we had enough cash so that they would take us to our destination.
  4. Plan and Book tours with English-speaking guides especially if you are not fluent in Spanish. Check that you have an English-speaking guide because we booked an English-speaking tour and were on a tour with a Spanish-speaking guide. So, it caused some confusion.
  5. Don't say you are lost.
  6. If you are unsure what someone has said. Say you do not understand, and say it in English.
  7. You'll see W.C signs for toilets. Carry coins for these toilets. And, we used toilets at hotels and shopping centres.
  8. Carry toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.
  9. Hydrate with bottled water.

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Up next ...

Next, you'll walk back to the bus.

And, the tour continues to a cemetery in the second town, San Antonio Tecomitl.

Then, we visited the third town at night.

Have you visited Mexico for the Day of the Dead? Leave a Comment!