“I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back.’”  — From the movie “Gladiator”

A life should be celebrated not mourned, here we celebrate Mexican style:

El Día de los Muertos. As per Tequila Stop’s mission to share the love for Mexico and Mexican culture, let us dive deeper into the Day of the Dead and the beauty of this tradition.


On this day, the deceased are welcomed back into the world of the living by their friends and relatives who keep their memory alive. American audiences may have been introduced to the Dia de los Muertos celebration by the movie Coco, one of the best Disney Halloween movies for kids. The animated movie brings to life the central idea that the deceased are never truly gone until there is no one left to remember them.

In Mexican culture, the dead are received with brightly decorated altars or ofrendas that include candles, bowls of water, and many of the foods the deceased enjoyed during their lifetime. This is the one day of the year in which the divide between the worlds of the living and the dead is blurred. On this day throughout Latin America, the cemeteries will be filled with friends and family of the deceased who await the return of the spirits of their loved ones.


El Día de los Muertos, despite being a tradition that features the deceased, it is still a celebration. It is regarded as a joyous occasion, wherein the living takes this time to remember and celebrate the departed. On this day, it is believed that the barrier between the spirit world and the real world would dissolve, allowing the souls of the dead to traverse to the world of the living and feast, drink, dance, and play music with their loved ones. The living family members would then treat the deceased as their honoured guests, providing the dead with offerings of different kinds.

These offerings have different symbolisms as well. Here are some of them:

Candles: helps to light the way home for the spirits.

Foods and Drinks: to sate the deceased’s hunger and quench their thirst after their long journey back home. Family members will often prepare favourite foods for the departed and bring out alcoholic beverages like tequila.

Salt: this condiment is considered the spice of life, and one of the staples that are left at the altar.

Marigold: scents of marigold and burning copal are thought to be most developed by the spirits of the dead and invite them back home. They are also referred to as Flor de Muerto (Flower of the Dead) and symbolise the beauty and fragility of life – which makes it an apt flower for the tradition.

Red Cockscombs: in Mexican culture, the red cockscomb flower symbolises the blood of Christ and resurrection from the dead. Their long-lasting nature also makes it the apparent choice for the altar and tombstone decoration.

Day of the Dead facts

  • American audiences may associate Dia de los Muertos with Mexican culture, but Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in numerous countries in Latin America.
  • The parade in Mexico City began in 2016 and draws thousands of viewers and participants.
  • The 2015 James Bond movie Spectre featured a fictitious Dia de los Muertos Parade in Mexico City, which later inspired the Mexican government to create an actual parade.
  • La Catrina, the iconic caricature mocking the Mexican aristocracy was created around 1910 by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. La Catrina has become a staple of a Dia de los Muertos celebration and is a reminder that in death the aristocracy and the poor are equal.


Such festivities are never complete without parades – which are aplenty during El Día de los Muertos. These parades and processions typically feature representations of the character La Catrina (an elegantly-dressed female skeleton), frightful calacus (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls), and other icons of death and the underworld. Aside from the face painting, elaborate costumes and static displays of sculptures, dance and art will also be prevalent. Many revellers wear shells or other noisemakers to amp up the excitement and possibly rouse the dead and keep them close during the fun.

Even James Bond’s Spectre Movie also visited this amazing day:

In fact, these motifs are so entrenched in Mexican culture as a whole that they are incorporated into products, brand conceptualisation and the like, regardless of whether they are tied to the festival or otherwise. For instance, take a look at the exquisite representation of La Catrina on the La Cofradia Edition Catrina.

We think the Mexicans are at one with the circle of life and are a culture we could all learn from, Buddhism in the East is all about acceptance of your fate as a guide to finding true happiness. I for one live by the motto we only have one life and that it is so short you have to take it by the reigns and enjoy every minute so we celebrate with a rich Agarve from Tequila stop