Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

The Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday that takes place on the 1” and 2’" of November every year.

The Embassy of Mexico is delighted to partner with La Jacaranda, the Mexican Association of Singapore and the Mexican community to share with the public this important Mexican tradition. The Embassy is deeply grateful to the National Museum of Singapore for its generous support.


16 October 2021 - 2 November 2021 @ National Museum Singapore, The Salon, Level 1 - Daily from 10 am - 7 pm - FREE ADMISSION


The Day of the Dead tradition reflects the interesting blend of cultures in Mexico. It has elements of the beliefs and rituals of the Mesoamerican cultures, which were then integrated with the Catholic celebrations for All Saints' Day and All Souls Day that were introduced by the Spanish in the 16’^ century.

As such, Day of the Dead rituals has been enriched over centuries, with its key elements derived from European Catholic traditions, the contributions of more than 60 indigenous groups found throughout the regions of Mexico, as well as other African and Asian cultures that have left their imprint on the country.’ The celebration continues to evolve in the present day.

During the Day of the Dead, families pay respects and make offerings to the deceased; death is not seen as the end of life. It is believed that the souls of the departed return to visit their living loved ones during this time. Even though skulls and skeletons are a common part of the celebration,
the occasion is not morbid; it is a time to remember and honour family, friends and ancestors who are no longer with us, thus celebrating the connection between life and death. As such, families pray, sing and tell stories about the departed to welcome them, visit cemeteries to decorate graves and set up special altars at home. Like any other celebration, Day of the Dead is filled with music, food and festivities.

Day of the Dead is one of the most relevant representations of Mexico's living heritage. In recognition of its strong cultural significance and traditions, in 2008 UNESCO added the celebration to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


An altar dedicated to the Aztecs

In 2021, the Government and the people of Mexico celebrate the 700’" anniversary of the foundation of Mexico City, the 500’" anniversary of the fall of Tenocht1tlân and the 200" anniversary of the consummation of Mexico's independence.

This year‘s exhibition is dedicated to the great Aztec empire, highlighting how they celebrated the Day of the Dead which was referred to by the Aztecs as the “Festival of the Dead”, a popular ritual celebrated in July and August. It was the feast with which they celebrated the end of the harvest of beans, chickpeas, corn, and pumpkin. These foods were part of the offerings given to the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead.

As one of the cradles of civilisation, Mesoamerica - in Mexican territory — saw the rise and fall of great civilisations, including the Olmecs (in the Preclassic period from 2,000 BCE), Mayan, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, Nahua, Toltec, Purepecha, Totonac. Along with other independent states that resisted them, the Aztec Empire thrived during the late Postclassic period, controlling the central and southern areas of Mesoamerica until the Spanish defeated Tenochfitlan in 1521.

The pyramid, modelled following the style of Tenochtitlan, comprises the central symbols of the celebration of Dfa de Muertos to the Aztecs.

The market surrounding the pyramid showcases different crops (grains, fruits and vegetables) which are native or were first domesticated thousands of years ago in Mesoamerica: corn, chilis, cacao, vanilla, beans, avocado, tomato, papaya, poinsettias (nochebuenasj) and Mexican marigold (cempasuchil) flowers.

Later on, through trade, these products were disseminated to Europe via Spain and Asia through the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route and have become staples in cuisines around the world and common products in our lives.

We hope you will enjoy learning more about the Day of the Dead and Mexico through this exhibition.


Embassy of Mexico in Singapore

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Posted in Expat, Past Event | Posted on October 19, 2021
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