Day of the Dead Festivities and More in Ixtapa, Mexico
A Bucket List Adventure
Powered by Mom was able to send our newest team member Jaime to experience beautiful Ixtapa, Mexico and Day of the Dead festivities. Find out more about her adventures and you can read more about Jaime on our About Us Page.
Jaime’s Day of the Dead Adventure
I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Ixtapa, Mexico to experience the best that the area has to offer. What makes the resort city of Ixtapa so amazing is the proximity that it has to Zihuatenejo, a fishing village. When staying in Ixtapa you have the best of both worlds. You get the resort community, but you also have access to Zihuatenejo within a 5 minute drive allowing you to delve into Mexican culture.
Day of the Dead (Dia los Muertos)
In Canadian and American society death is an occasion for mourning and brings with it a deep feeling of loss yet not all cultures around the world view death in the same way. In Latin America the Dia los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated November 1st and 2nd and gives outsiders a glimpse into the ways that Mexican culture views and copes with the death of a loved one. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in the Day of the Dead celebration in Ixtapa on November 1. A huge thank you to Vanessa and the Mexico Tourism Board for making this day to happen.
The day of the dead celebration has its roots in traditional Aztec culture, and features altares being constructed to honour your loved ones who have passed on. The truly fascinating aspect to the day of the dead celebrations is the focus on enjoying the day, with the understanding that your loved ones would not want you to be sad about their death. The dia de los muertos is a day to celebrate your loved ones, and a day that the dead are said to come back to celebrate with you.
Altares are breathtakingly beautiful dedications to loved ones that feature pictures of the dearly beloved, as well as a collection of their favorite foods and beverages as an offering. Bright colours abound, and the patron saint Katrina is found everywhere. Included in the day of the dead celebrations are special foods that are eaten only on the day of the dead many of which can be found on altares around town, and a Katrina parade featuring brightly dressed women and men with their faces painted like skeletons paying homage to Katrina.
La Katrina Mezcaleria
Our afternoon started off at the Katrina Mezcaleria for a delicious lunch after a walk through the Cinco de Mayo Market. The food was absolutely divine. I have to confess that living in Canada our idea of fine Mexican dining is grabbing a box of Old el Paso from the super market, or a trip through the drive thru at Taco Time. Let me tell you this. We Canadians are definitely missing out! True Mexican food doesn’t come from a box, nor can it be purchased at a fast food restaurant on the run.
One of the food items that we had the opportunity to sample at La Katrina was the delicious Day of the Dead bread (Pan de muertos). The Bread of the Dead is a sweet bread, often adorned with depictions of body parts. A coating of sugar tops the bread, and when served with a cup of coffee makes for an amazing treat.
While at La Katrina Mezcaleria be sure to try out one of their signature cocktails made with their very own Mezcal.
Sabores y Colores
While not quite a year old Sabores y Colores is definitely a place that you will want to visit while in Zihuatanejo. We were fortunate to have a cooking demo while there featuring a delicious pumpkin dish only served on the Day of the Dead. Calabaza En Tacha (Candied Pumpkin) is a delicious blend of pumpkin simmered in solid molasses, cinnamon and orange zest. The result is the most flavourful, melt in your mouth pumpkin dish imaginable. When you visit Sabores y Colores make sure you say hello to head chef Antonio!
After our delicious treat at Sabores y Colores it was time to head down to the festival at the waterfront featuring live entertainment, street vendors and altares set up throughout the area. The environment is festive, yet respectful. You can catch glimpses of those participating in the Katrina parade getting ready, and the entire parade itself is about an hour and a half long, though you can catch the parade at any point of its route
One of the highlights for me while down at the plaza was the gigantic sand sculpture depicting skulls and commemorating the Dia De Muertos in Zihuatanejo.
The Day of the Dead Celebration in Zihuatenejo is a wonderful experience, and is definitely a bucket list trip. Mexico in October and November is warm enough to be welcoming (unlike being back home in Canada where some areas have already seen the first dusting of snow) but not so hot that you feel like you’re melting. Given the chance I would definitely head back to Ixtapa for Day of the Dead Celebrations in the future!
Be sure to check back for my review of Club Med Ixtapa!