Mexico City came alive Thursday to mark Day of the Dead celebrations, complete with a massive offering dedicated to Aztec mythology on the passage to death and Mictlan, the underworld, at the capital city's main square - the Zocalo. An altar was also set-up for deceased migrants.
On the Day of the Dead, families traditionally set up offerings to the dead which include photographs, food, candles, flowers, personal items, skulls made out of sugar, skeletons of paper mache and sweets. Zocalo's altar is the largest in the country.
The annual event holds that the dead return once a year from the underworld. To mark their return, Mexicans construct "Day of the Dead" altars. Burning incense and candles, participants adorn the altars with candy skulls, marigolds, chocolate coffins, paper mache skeletons and photographs of the deceased. November 1 is reserved for children returning from the afterlife. November 2 is for adults.
"Unfortunately some people, due to a closeness with other countries, confuse the traditions but for us it's the Day of the Dead," said Guadalupe Paz, a participant walking in the parade. "Halloween is from other countries and we respect their traditions but we play with skulls, devils, witches but most of all the Catrinas and the skulls, are what represent us in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. To be with our loved ones who have departed and we pay them that homage."
Mexico's Day of the Dead celebrations are considered a Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). And with the success of Pixar's Coco film, the event has become a tourist attraction for the country.
Last year, Mexico's celebration of the Day of the Dead included a ceremony to remember the 355 victims of the recent earthquakes, as well as in recognition of the thousands of volunteers who helped the victims.