Día de muertos in Mexico

Between two worlds

At the end of October, the beginning of November, Mexico shows off its liveliest side. Traditionally, on the Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead), they remember their dead. The celebration begins on All Hallows’ Eve and continues through to All Souls’ Day. This year, hundreds of thousands of people will be taking part in one of the most important annual festivals, even if under quite unexpected circumstances.

Despite its name and it being celebrated around a similar time to festivals in other countries, for example All Souls’ Day and Halloween, the Día de Muertos is not simply a Mexican variation, but rather a completely unique celebration. Definitely not a Day of Fear or Grief – quite the opposite! Even today this festival is based on ideas, some of which are several thousand years old, taken from the Aztecs and other ethnic cultures, who understood death as being a natural part of life. Mourning the dead was then considered disrespectful, as they were still thought of as members of the community. This is why for a few days every year they are allowed to celebrate with the living.

 

Magnificent and splendorous commemoration of the dead

Splendidly decorated ofrendas, or altars, form the centerpiece of the festival and are displayed either in people’s homes or directly at the cemeteries. They are embellished with papier-mâché skeletons, skulls, candles, incense sticks, photos, and memorabilia of the deceased. Thousands upon thousands of flowers are scattered from the altars and onto the streets and are meant to help the deceased find their way home. There are bizarre stories and anecdotes, exuberant music and dancing, feasting and drinking until the early hours of the morning – all in remembrance of the dead.

Día de Muertos is also a real highlight internationally. In pre-corona times, the festivities attracted hundreds of thousands of national and international visitors – they danced in houses and at the cemeteries, bought souvenirs at street markets, and admired the flamboyant parades. This meant Mexico’s hotels were usually bursting and booked up months in advance.

 

The second biggest national economy in Latin America

Aside from its exuberance, Mexico also liked to present itself on such occasions as a rising economic power – it is, after all, the second largest national economy in Latin America.

By being a member of important international forums, such as the G20 and the OECD, the country was able to cultivate privileged relations with the EU as its business partner. Due to its geographically-favorable location between North and South America, an increasing number of manufacturing companies, especially from the automotive and electronics industries, have settled here in recent years.

It is no coincidence that Mexico’s transport and freight industry has also grown steadily in recent years, resulting in an increasing demand for investments to improve local transport networks. In fact, in recent years, the existing infrastructure has proven to be insufficient in the face of increasing demands, for example the import of raw materials or the export of oil, gas and above all agricultural products. The Mexican government’s injection of capital into the transport infrastructure between 2014 and 2018 was therefore crucial, despite being considered by experts as merely the beginning of a necessary, continuing journey.

 

Not a great time for predictions

These times, however, are inevitably difficult for Mexico’s growth plans. Many scheduled projects for harbor, railroad and highway development are now suffering due to the budget cutbacks as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the focus has been placed on more urgent issues relating to health care. The global slump in international tourism will also impact upon the Day of the Dead. The parade going through Mexico City alone previously attracted around two million visitors; now the city is considering organizing a virtual parade instead. It remains to be seen how the economic, logistical and social challenges will be overcome. So for a few days, the people of Mexico will probably find all the more comfort and distraction in their ancestors.

About cargo-partner in Mexico

Our agents’ liaison and key account support office in Mexico is in charge of managing our relations with our network of selected partners and agents throughout South America. Thanks to long-standing relationships with premium partners and carriers, we can offer our full range of air, sea, road transport and contract logistics solutions to our clients in the region.