Mexico is a land rich in culture and tradition, but few are as fascinating and deeply cherished as El Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. Contrary to the name, this is more than one day. The celebration begins on October 31st and continues through November 2nd. El Día de Muertos wasdeclared as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity byUNESCO.
This time of year pulls customs and rituals from the depths of indigenous history and its mergence with the Catholic Church. What has evolved is an authentic practice that embodies the beauty and beliefs of the Mexican people. You will see the somber reverence of loved ones who have passed on and the joyous celebrations with La Calavera Catrina!
History and Tradition
October 31st has been tied into this holiday due to the religious influence mingling All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, but the true celebrations are November 1st, el Día de los Angelitos, Day of the Little Angels and November 2nd, El Día de Muertos, Day of the Dead. During these two days, it is believed that the souls of the dead can cross over from the Land of the Dead to visit with their living friends and relatives.
In the evenings, you may see processions of family and friends walk to the graveyards and cover the headstones with candles and gifts. It is common to place favorite items and memorabilia on the grave to honor the dead, from their favorite foods to personal items.
It is believed that the souls of departed children return at midnight on the 31st and spend the day with their families once more. For this reason, graves and altars will be adorned with sweets, milk, and children’s toys and clothing. Then on November 2nd, the adult spirits will visit. They will be celebrated with special offerings at their graves as well. Yet this is not a time of sadness, but of rejoicing. For these two days everyone is reunited, and by honoring the dead, blessings and good fortune will be bestowed on the living.
Events in Puerto Vallarta
Each state in Mexico celebrates a little differently based on the majority of indigenous or religious inhabitants. Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco, has planned a vibrant jubilee to bring this incredible holiday to life. Now until November 2nd there will be events and activities held around the city including giant, hand-crafted Catrinas, elaborate altars, art exhibitions, and guided tours.
The Trolley of Terror
Garza Blanca Preserve has also orchestrated a unique family celebration of its own for guests who enjoy a little thrill on their vacations. On the night of Halloween, you can take an eerie trip on the Spooky Trolley! You do not need to make a reservation. Simply be in the Garza Blanca lobby for the 7:00, 7:30, or 8:00 pm ride. A masked man will narrate your journey as you travel around the Garza Blanca Preserve, just remember to muffle your screams and beware of the dead.
To celebrate in a more customary fashion, the staff at the resort will create altars over on the property.
It is customary on the Day of the Dead, to create an altar of the dead called an “ofrenda”, which typically include offerings such as marigolds, sugar skulls, pan de muerto “bread of the dead”, and other items the deceased enjoyed in life.
On November 1st, guests of Garza Blanca are invited to join us at TierraLuna Gardens to participate in this special Mexican custom and make their own altar. Participants will be guided by the activities team to create their altars.
In the evening, all guests are invited to visit our altars of the dead, which will be on display at TierraLuna. There will be a contest for the best altar.
Come and be part of this special celebration to honor the memory of those who are no longer with us.
At TierraLuna Gardens From 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm:
- Exhibition of altars of the dead
- Farmers Market and Art Walk
- Taco station
- Live music