MEXICO CITY – Skeletons, skulls and colorful floats passed through the streets of Mexico City on Saturday for the Day of the Dead parade, which also paid tribute to the victims and rescue workers of the recent earthquake.
Hundreds of participants walked for around 5 kilometers in a festive atmosphere, mostly along Reforma Avenue, which was adorned with the traditional marigold flower decorations.
The parade was divided in two main segments. The first, called the “alive death,” showed different conceptualizations of death among Mexicans, from the pre-Hispanic era to present day.
The second section, called the “skull carnival,” included figures representing Catrina, a female skeleton, and its male counterpart.
Huge skull-shaped balloons and colorful Xochimilco boats surrounded by Mariachi musicians also grabbed attention in the parade.
Karen, a woman participant dressed as a Catrina, told EFE that the figure represented Mexico, dressed in folk colors and always happy.
“We are one of the countries that don’t worship death, but we do celebrate it, see it in a festive, happy context. Different from other places in the world where death is synonymous with crying or sadness,” she added.
Most participants wore elaborate costumes and make-up, representing various mysterious figures.
Music and dance were also important parts of the parade, with many dancers performing in special regional dress.
One of the dancers, Fernando, said that the Day of the Dead was a way of expressing gratitude to the deceased, for the time spent together.
The parade paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 19 earthquake with the enormous figure of a fist, made with the helmets of the rescue workers.
A group of rescue volunteers was walking behind the raised fist – a signal used by them to ask for silence during rescue work – and observed a minute of silence at various points during the procession.
The parade ended at the central Zocalo Square, which was decorated with colorful paper art, a tree of life and many skull figures for the occasion.
This is the second year Mexico City authorities have organized the parade, inspired by the James Bond film Spectre, which showed a similar parade in the city.