Lakeside residents will observe an intense burst of activity over the coming week as the community comes to life to commemorate the Dia de los Fieles Difuntos (Day of the Faithful Dead) on Friday, November 2.
Different regions and towns across the nation observe the idiosyncratic holiday in a distinctive ways, highlighted by long-held customs and public events organized by educational, cultural and government institutions.
The north shore will buzz with seasonal festivities rooted in customs that have emerged and evolved from ancient times, offering foreign residents and visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Mexican culture and colorful traditions. Here’s a glance at coming events.
Chapala’s Preparatoria Regional offers several programs wrapped into its annual Festival de Vida y Muerte. A presentation of Day of the Dead stories and legends is scheduled for Wednesday, October 31, 7 p.m., at the Centro Cultural Antigua Presidencia (former town hall), Avenida Madero next door to Banamex. On Thursday, November 1, 5 to 9 a.m., music and dance groups will perform at the Fuente de Pescadores at the south end of Madero.
The festival culminates Friday, November 2, with a display of around 70 Dia de Muertos memorial altars set up on Avenida Madero from the Hidalgo intersection to the waterfront, model tombstones set up outside the San Francisco Church on the site of Chapala’s first graveyard,and a seasonal gastronomy fair, open to the public from 4 p.m. Students will also stage an after-dark funeral march tied into the festival’s environmental protection theme, starting at the Madero traffic light, 7 p.m., winding through town via Morelos, Guerrero, Miguel Martinez and back to the main avenue.
Another November 2 point of interest is Calle Cinco de Mayo, where neighbors customarily mount altars outside their homes in memory of departed loved ones, ready for viewing from 6 p.m.
“Coco,” the acclaimed Disney cartoon feature film with a Dia de Muertos storyline, will be screened Thursday, November 1, at the outdoor amphitheater on the waterfront Malecón. The movie will be played with English dialogue at 5:30 p.m., followed at 7:30 by the Spanish language version.
Back-to-back tours of the Ajijic cemetery led by a bilingual guide will be offered Friday, November 2, starting from the south gate on Calle Ocampo at 3 and 5 p.m. The 200-peso donation for joining the graveyard walkabout will go towards the purchase of Christmas food baskets for families of local police officers.
Ajijic’s November 2 Dia de Muertos Festival will include memorial altars, colorful sawdust carpets and life-size Catrina figures displayed around the village plaza from 2 p.m. Participants in the nighttime Desfile de Muertos will congregate outside the cemetery from 7 p.m. before marching to the plaza for an old fashioned town dance. Artist Efren González will sprearhead the illumination of candles on his Skull Wall mural, Calle Marcos Castellanos opposite the church, 8 p.m., preceded and followed by live entertainment.
Jocotepec is hosting a two-day festival titled Qué Viva la Muerte, with activities running Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2. The first day will feature an exhibition of Dia de Muertos altars, set up on the plaza by 7 p.m., with Ballet Folklorico and live music performances from 9 p.m. The Desfile de Muertos parade around town starts at 6:30 p.m., followed at 11 p.m. by the Recorrido de la Llorona (Journey of the Crying Lady), 11 p.m. Activities on November 2 include the five-kilometer Viva La Muerte race, starting at the waterfront Malecón, 7:30 p.m. and finishing with an open-air concert at the same location.
Ixtlahuacan’s annual Day of the Dead Festival runs from November 1 through 4. It opens Thursday night with a vocal concert at the old town cemetery, 7:30 p.m. Friday events include a memorial wreath contest, noon; a street parade, 6:30 p.m.; the Noche de Muertos stage show, 8:30 p.m., and a Ballet Folklorico performance, 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s program features the Altar de Muertos and Catrina impersonization contests during the daytime and live entertainment from 7:30 p.m.
Sunday highlights are the Dia de Muertos carpet contest, 2:30 p.m.; the Novias Alegres (Catrina Brides) fashion show, 5 p.m.; and a presentation of Oaxaca’s Guelagetza fest, 7 p.m.