Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a pretty special holiday throughout Mexico. However, it seems to be an even bigger deal here in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. Tourists come from all over Mexico (and the world) to experience this annual event in November.

Scholars say the origin came from an indigenous Purepecha observance dating back hundreds of years. It is also related to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. I love goddesses!   

Old woman at Day of the Dead

Last year was my first experience with day of the dead. I was completely mesmerized by the magical night. One of the things I loved most about this holiday is how people are allowed to take time to celebrate loved ones who have left this life. Families build altars and decorate them with items that reflect what lost ones liked or admired while they were alive. Offerings, like flowers, photos, candles, incense, sweets, memorabilia, food, and drinks are placed on the altars for viewing. As a result, it is believed that these items help guide the departed souls back to the living for that one night.

Day of the Dead 2016

Last year a group of friends hired a driver with a mini van to take us to some of the more popular and most beautiful graveyards around the lake area of Pátzcuaro. Each gravesite was beautifully decorated with elaborate altars, long tapered glowing candles, bright yellow marigolds, and family members gathered together. 

With my DSLR camera in hand, I spent the evening shooting plenty of video. Now that Day of the Dead is once again around the corner, I wanted to share some of that footage in a short compilation.

For more info and history on Day of the Dead in Patzcuaro, here are some resources:

Great article about the history, tradition, and food of this Mexican celebration

The town of Patzcuaro and Dia de los Muertos

License my Day of the Dead footage

All video footage is available for licensing. Visit my collection of Day of the Dead footage on either Nimia or Pond5 for use in any of your projects.

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Jaime Byrd
Director / Cinematographer / Editor
• I'm an Emmy nominated film editor living as a nomad around the globe. I work at freelance video production and editing for digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and creatives.

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