Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Cozumel Island

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Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Cozumel Island

Every year, when the Autumn breeze brushes the atmosphere, the Mexican territory covers itself with altars, ancient legends, traditional dishes, and the remembrance of friends and family that have passed away. This tradition celebrated for many centuries, it’s not the “Mexican Halloween” as some people mistakenly call it, but the Día de Muertos! And Cozumel is the best place to celebrate it.

The Day of the Dead is a festival considered an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Aware of this, Isla Cozumel and its cheerful settlers relive the ancient tradition of remembering the dead. We present some activities that you can do from October 31st to November 2nd with your family and friends to live a fully Mexican Day of the Dead!

The colorful streets of Cozumel.


Activities to celebrate Day of the Dead

The streets of Cozumel fill with colors and party with the arrival of November. Public squares and alleys, restaurants and cafeterias become spaces for art shows, such as extramural galleries.

In the Benito Juarez Park, tourists and locals gather for the festivities, some disguised as characters of Día de Muertos, especially as Catrinas, the famous caricature of José Guadalupe Posadas. In addition, there are activities to enjoy as storytellers, as well as a contest of altars, dance competitions, the Cultural Autumn Night, snacks and impressive giant catrinas.

There will also be activities in the Chankanaab Natural Park: ofrendas, typical gastronomy, and music. The little ones will have fun with the free papel picado workshop, the typical Mexican chopped paper; as well as dances, seasonal food, and makeup.


The Mayan tradition of Hanal Pixán

For centuries, the historic Mayan people have celebrated a tradition known as Hanal Pixán. Hanal means food in Maya, while Pixán is soul, or accurately, the soul that gives life to the body. Thus, Hanal Pixán is “the food of the souls” that gives life to the souls of the deceased.

This typical food of the Yucatan Peninsula is a magical highlight for the relatives of the deceased, because, as legend tells, it is during these three days of autumn that the dead “receive permission” to visit their relatives.

The first day of the celebration, October 31st, is dedicated to children (hanal palal); the second to adults (hanal nucuch uinicoob); and November 2nd is dedicated to all the saints (hanal pixanoob), in a comunal mass in the local cementary.


Mukbil traditional chicken.


The three days of festivity include the elaboration of altars covered with beautiful crafts, such as embroidered tablecloths, clay frets, wax candles, and incense burners. But the main aspect is the food.

The exquisite chicken mukbil is a dish especially prepared for these dates. Mukbil literally means in Mayan “that has been buried”, because this aspect characterizes its cooking. The stew is prepared with corn dough, lard, chicken and different condiments forming a large tamale that is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked slowly under the ground. A gastronomic delight taught by grandmothers for centuries!

For tradition, gastronomy and beach party, visit Cozumel Island on Day of the Dead!

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