Arts & Entertainment

Mexican artisans prepare for biggest-ever Day of the Dead parade

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Oct 26 (EFE).- More than 170 artisans across Mexico City’s metropolitan area are making final preparations for what promises to be the capital’s biggest-ever Day of the Day parade.

This year’s fifth edition of the event also carries special meaning for these crafts people after the 2020 parade was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“(We feel) a lot of joy. This is the biggest parade we’ll have ever done, and the one we’ve done in the least amount of time. But of course we’re very happy because this parade is getting a lot of workshops going again, and that means work for a lot of families,” Paco Enriquez, technical director of the El Volador workshop, said Tuesday in an interview with Efe.

In just three months, that workshop in the northeastern part of Mexico’s capital has built seven floats for the Day of the Day parade scheduled for Sunday (the day before the Day of the Dead festivities kick off on Nov. 1). It also will coordinate the work of the other workshops and collectives that are making various props and costumes for the event.

First held in 2016 and inspired by the opening sequence of the 2015 James Bond film “Spectre,” which was filmed in Mexico City’s massive Zocalo (main square), the parade covers a distance of 8.7 kilometers (5.4 miles) from the Zocalo to Campo Marte, a venue used for military and government events.

More than 1,000 masked and costumed participants will make their way along much of the Paseo de la Reforma thoroughfare and guide the floats featuring alebrijes (brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures), calaveras (representations of human skulls that are used to honor deceased loved ones) and other decorative items.

A novelty in this latest edition of the parade will be performances of traditional Mexican folk songs such as “Cielito lindo” and “La llorona” by four internationally recognized recording artists: Laura Leon, Maria Leon, Kalimba and Yahir.

The parade “will have four segments, telling a story that dates back to pre-Columbian (times), then the great Tenochtitlan, on through to the Mexico of our era, and we close with a big party,” Enriquez said.

All Day of the Dead festivities this year are dedicated to people who died of Covid-19, which thus far has claimed around 286,500 lives in that Latin American country.

“It’s a tribute to the people who lost a family member during the pandemic,” Enriquez said. “This parade is part of the ofrenda (a Day of the Dead altar with photos, food and beverages and lit candles to entice dead loved ones back for a visit), that tradition where we honor our deceased. It’s very meaningful and brings us a lot of joy.”

He also expressed his thanks to the Mexico City government, saying that after months of seeking ways to keep the workshop in business it is finally back on its feet. EFE


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