Day of the Dead Altars

Cozumel islanders will remember and rejoice lost loved ones, this week, as they celebrate El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The special Mexican occasion celebrates the lives of ancestors, and other deceased family members and friends.

Taking place on the first two days of November each year, the celebrations are approached joyously and are not morbid nor related to Halloween.

Events usually start the night before November 1 - All Saints Day or Día de Todos los Santos - and continue on November 2 - the Day of the Dead itself.

La Catrina

Rather than mourning the dead this is a time to honor their lives, following a traditional Mexican belief that death is not the end, but the start of a new stage in life.

Special altars are made offering the deceased relatives their favorite items from when they were alive. It is popular to include flowers and candles, but you may also see food, drink, tobacco and other curiosities.

Death and Mexican art

You'll see many representations of "La Catrina" a female skull or skeleton image that was originally created in the early 1900s by Mexican illustrator, José Guadalupe Posada, and later reproduced by famous Mexican mural artist, Diego Riviera.

Marigolds are also very popular, a sacred orange flower that represents death, and island bakers make special sweet skull-shaped pastries and flowers and memorials fill cemeteries.

Painting by local artist, Mario Mizrahi. Find more information about Cozumel events.