Dia de Muertos: my ultimate collection of scary photos from Mexico

in travel •  6 months ago

Hi there my Steemit friends and followers!

I have already provided you with a few brief sneak peeks into what we saw and experienced during the Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead in English) in Mexico last year but this holiday is so interesting and popular that I finally decided to dedicate a separate, quite extensive and complex post to it so that you all can have a better idea of what this extraordinary event, that actually starts today, is about :)

This post also comes with over 30 photos - all taken by me - that will help you soak up the unique atmosphere of this iconic Mexican holiday that has been increasingly popular in many other parts of the world too.

Dia de Muertos - tradicion muy viva. Day of the Dead - tradition still much alive. Photo taken in Playa del Carmen.

Originally, prior to the Spanish colonization of Central and South America, Dia de Muertos was celebrated in summer but it was later moved to the period between October 31 and November 2 so that the holiday would coincide with Christian holidays such as Halloween or the All Souls´ Day. So these days, the Dia de Muertos celebrations start on the eve of October 31 and it ends on November 2.

Dia de Muertos originated in what is now Mexico, centuries ago when pre-Hispanic cultures such the Aztecs, Toltecs and Mayas believed that deceased members of their families could temporarily return to Earth but over the course of time, the tradition was gradually adopted all over Latin America.

During the holiday, families and friends gather to remember the deceased they loved, to pray for them and to help them return to Earth. Dia de Muertos comes with a variety of traditions that are observed on those three days so let me now introduce you to some of them through my photos that I took last year on the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.


Meaning "skull" in English, calavera is one of the most important symbols of Dia de Muertos. They come in literally all possible shapes, sizes and colors and they are everywhere. But I am mean EVERYWHERE. Let me show you a few examples.

From what I observed, most calaveras are made from clay.

Despite being the symbol of the death, the skulls (just like all other objects used during the Dia de Muertos celebrations) are actually brimming with colors. The Mexicans have a very specific perception of the death, very different from us Europeans, for example.

One would almost say some of them are a kind of cute...

...while others are downright creepy and terrifying.

These skulls are a great example of a Mexican tradition known as the Huichol art.

This unique art includes folk-art and handcrafts produced by the Huichol people, native Americans (or Indians) who live in some parts of Mexico such as the states of Durango, Jalisco or Nayarit.

Among all the vivid colors, stumbling on these ordinary monochrome skulls felt somewhat weird.

Skull candles.

Skulls on plates.

Skulls on walls. Like I said before, skulls are everywhere on Dia de Muertos.


Calacas translate as "skeletons" in English and they are almost as common during Dia de Muertos as calaveras. Just like with the skulls, the skeletons are also usually depicted as happy rather than mournful figures.

These guys do not really seem to be taking the death too seriously.

Skeleton mariachi party anyone?

Skeleton wedding.

Skeleton waiting for you.

Skeleton Marilyn.

Skeleton racer.

Skeleton bandit and his skeleton ladies.

Skeletons bored to death.

But the skeletons do not have to belong to humans only. There are horse skeletons too.

And mouse skeletons of course. Or are these dogs´ ? I am not really sure here but whatever they are, they are creepy!


Ofrendas are altars. On Dia de Muertos, the Mexicans build private altars where they put their deceased family members´ favorite objects, foods, drinks, their photos, candles, skulls and other things to welcome them back to Earth and to help them find the altars made for them.

Traditional Dia de Muertos altar built in front of the Municipal Palace in the city of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo.

They often mark the way towards the altars with petals of the Mexican marigold, a herbaceous perennial plant typical of some Mexican states. The orange marigold is another common theme of Dia de Muertos.

The families tend to make the altars as colorful and bright as possible.

To make sure the departed will find their altars, you can scatter the marigold path with skulls.

I think no passer-by would ever dare to steal anything from this altar.

After the sunset, the candles on the altars are lit, giving them even spookier and more magical feel.

La Catrina Mask

La Catrina originated as a zinc etching created by the popular Mexican print maker and illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada in 1913, personifying a satirical portrait of Mexican women who wanted to adopt the aristocratic traditions of their European counterparts. A few decades later, in the 1940s, Diego Rivera, one of the most prominent Mexican painters (and the husband of Frida Kahlo), completed Posada´s portrait with a body in one of his greatest murals and the newly created figure was named La Catrina. Soon after that, La Catrina became the symbol of death in Mexico and her importance and popularity in the Dia de Muertos celebrations were growing every year.

Mexican women want to look like La Catrina during the celebrations so some of them buy La Catrina masks in the store...

...while others have the masks painted right on their faces. Girls and women dressed and painted like this then hang around the altars and join massive processions later on during the night.


No Mexican celebration would be complete without plenty of food. On Dia de Muertos, however, the food gets a bit spooky too. Apart from the food and treats that their deceased loved, the Mexicans also decorate the altars with special Dia de Muertos candies such as sugar skulls, typical sweet bread known as pan de muerto or sweet alcoholic drink known as pulque that is made from fermented agave sap.

I don´t remember what these candies were made from but they looked disturbingly creepy.

I took some courage but I dared to try this lollipop. It was scarily sweet and took me hours to lick it off.

Nevertheless, it is not only the departed returning back to Earth who get hungry during the Dia de Muertos celebrations. The participants of the processions also need some fuel to be able to keep up with the pace of the celebrations. I think this is where Dia de Muertos got inspired by the Halloween trick-or-treat tradition as I saw many kids dressed in scary costumes asking for treats in the street.

They keep the treats they get in these special containers. When I saw them for the first time in the store, I actually thought they were lamps or something and it was not until I noticed them in the procession again when I finally figured out their real purpose.

I hope you enjoyed this post about Dia de Muertos as much as we enjoyed this fascinating holiday on the famous Mexican Riviera Maya last year. Let me wrap it up with one last interesting, yet relatively unknown fact - this holiday is so popular in Latin America (and many other parts of the world too these days) that UNESCO decided to add it to their list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

How about you, my Steemit fellows, do you have any similar holidays in your countries? If so, how do you celebrate them? Let us know in the comment section below! :)


Thank you for visiting my blog. If you like posts about #nature, #animals, #traveling and discovering secrets and beauties of the #world, feel free to follow me as these are the topics I mostly write about. Have a wonderful day and keep on Steeming!

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Awesome.... Best Halloween blog yet! Happy Halloween @phortun!


Thank you so much my friend! Happy Halloween to you too and thank you for the resteem - I appreciate it! ;)

Hiya, just swinging by to let you know you're being featured in our daily Travel Digest, curated by @itchyfeetdonica. Please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider upvoting the Travel Digest if you like what we're doing.


Woow! This is the first time I am featured there I think! Thank you so much Donica! I am definitely going to check the other selected posts :)

Hi. @phortun; We have selected your post for the The Best Post.
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Wow, thank you guys!

Je to trochu mimo meze mého chápání, ale tradice je to hodně barevná ;-)


Jo, pro nás Evropy je to holt úplně jiný svět :) Ale ty barvy všude kolem jsou úžasné ;)


Its still a goal of mine to visit Mexico for the Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Hopefully it happens soon.


What a very well written fun read, thanks.
Dani Stall


I hope you will get to experience this extraordinary holiday soon! Thanks for stopping by.

It looks like a paradise for lovers of skulls.


It is indeed! :) For lovers of skulls and skeletons :D

Viva la Mexico! Olé!💙


Gracias mi amor 💙 Hasta Luego México :)

Great photo report, @phortun

I congratulate you on all saints ' day - Halloween!



Thank you so much @singa :) Happy Halloween to you too :)

Hodně dobrý!
Tolik lebek a tolik barev v jednom...


Díky :) Jo, lebky a barvy, to je jejich :D Až nahodíš jako téma "strašidelné foto", tak víš, co tam ode mě dostaneš :D

Zajímavé pojetí smrti. Úžasné barvy, to se jinde nevidí.


To máš pravdu. Pro nás Evropy skutečně hodně zvláštní zvyky ;)


To rozhodně.

It's amazing how much effort they put on celebrating this holiday. I would love to experience it one day! Great post and nice pictures @phortun! :)


I hope you will have a chance to see this craziness right in Mexican streets for yourself one day my friend :) It is truly unforgettable experience.

Mexico is the country that venerates with more fervor the day of the dead, whose tradition dates back many years, I congratulate phortun, you for the excellent post and the colorful photos, greetings from Venezuela.


Muchas gracias! :)

I went onto trending in the travel tag to see if I was still number one. But no I see a post on dia de los muertos then I see it's by @phortun! Couldn't have a better steemit friend to have bumped me from the number one spot! Well done, and well done on this post.

Day of the dead is a fascinating holiday in Mexico. So exciting, so full of color, and culture. Great set of photos and well written. Makes me want to plan my next trip to Mexico around this holiday. See you in Krakow Petr and of course, my best to Miss Tammy!


Haha I know buddy!! I am so sorry to be the guy who bumped you from the first spot (I guess I am not there anymore either by now haha) but I was planning and working on this post for a long time to have it ready for the October 31 when Dia de Muertos actually starts :) Too bad we both published long posts and boosted them through bots on pretty much the same day :D But it is all good bro, I loved the Galapagos Travel Report, you did an awesome job with this one ;)


Haha, it's all good. I really like see you and I at the top at the same time. Great job on your post too, so well done!

Very interesting and informative phortun, thank you.
Also extremely colourful and lively (the processions are also lively from what I remember from the videos and movies I have witnessed). I always have wanted to visit that side and your sample has only increased my zest to do so. It appears so different to the African culture I have grown up in. Have a groovy day!


Thank you for this nice comment! You are right, although the main theme of this holiday is death, it is extremely lively and colorful :) Definitely an experience to remember.

Que excelente publicación, México se destaca con la celebración del Día de Muertos, me gusta mucho. Han sacado películas animadas como Coco que son a mi parecer verdaderamente hermoso, aquí en Venezuela es totalmente apuesto, cuando en México es alegría, comida y colorido, aquí
es solo recordar con dolor a nuestros muertos. FELICITACIONES, está muy bien detallada la información.


Gracias! Me alegro de que te haya gustado eso :)

Muy linda esas fotos, Feliz Halloween amigo!

That was informative as well as interesting. I wish Halloween had as much meaning !


Thank you, I am glad you liked this post.

@phortun I love this tradition, excellent photos.


Thank you, it is a very interesting tradition :)

I take my time, however, I did not like this post, I did not know so much about it, it's nice to see it this way, good pics, thank you.


I am sorry you didn´t like it.

I really love mexican culture and I sure did enjoy this post! Photos are great 🤗

Wow i wasn’t expecting this there a movie titled Mama Coco the movie graphics is just similar to your post and was shoot in Mexico. Nice post this nice.


Thanks! I love the movie "Coco" :)

Great post! Would love to see these with my own eyes by earned coins from steemit ☺️

Wonderfully detailed photo collection, I love it. And it perfectly fits the theme of today's Halloween.


Thanks! Happy Halloween to you :)

Muy colorida tradición, ideal para visitar México por su cultura.

Excelentes imagenes, Mexico es encantador, su cultura es impresionante,me gusta mucho ese pais a pesar de sus problemas sociales y politicos,pero cuando de cultura se trata los adoro,su gastronomia es muy amplia, y ni hablar del tributo a la Catrina.

Excelente trabajo de fotografía, saludos desde Quintana Roo! Seré nuevo seguidor.


Gracias! ;)

I absolutely loved this post! thank you so much for sharing this! i enjoyed learning about the spanish hertiage on halloweeen! i am new to steemit, i followed you because this is what i want to read about! thank u


Thanks and welcome to Steemit! :)

Love it! I always wanted to visit Mexico, and this is one of many reasons, it's amazing what they do . thank you for sharing this!


You are welcome :) Hopefully you will get to experience this holiday for yourself :)

WOW, I like these photos from Mexico, Dia de Muertos, Happy Halloween !

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I like the framing

Posted using Partiko Android

Respeto su blog pero no lo comparto... :)

Dia de muertos cool

Very nice pictcha

Posted using Partiko Android

thanks for sharing!

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