In Mexico City, the annual Day of the Dead parade held special significance after the devastating quakes last year. With faces painted as skulls and bodies made up like skeletons, throngs of performers marched through the streets of Mexico City in a Day of the Dead parade in a country still mourning the nearly 500 people killed in back-to-back earthquakes last month.
Thousands of onlookers cheered and applauded as a giant raised fist constructed out of hard hats and pickaxes led the procession, signifying the defiant spirit of a country hit with one of its worst calamities in decades. An 8.2-magnitude quake — the most powerful to hit Mexico in a century — struck off the Pacific Coast shortly before midnight on Sept 7, 2017 setting off tsunami warnings, burying hundreds of people under collapsed buildings and scattering frightened residents into the streets.
Participants and Onlookers Alike Painted their Faces as Colorful Skulls — Many in the Style of Mexico’s Iconic Figure “La Catrina”
Then, on Sept. 19, 2017 a 7.1-magnitude quake struck about 400 miles from the epicenter of the first one, toppling buildings, cracking highways and killing more than 200 people in Mexico City, the capital. “For us as a society, it was something very violent that moved our conscience,” Ramón Márquez, 51, wearing an orange T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “#fuerzamorelos” or “Be Strong Morelos,” said of one of the quakes, Reuters reported. “The parade could be a distraction, a way of escaping,” he added.
The Calavera Catrina - Dapper Skeleton - Most Representative Image in the Day of the Dead Festival
There were dancing devils. Towering skeletons. Altars festooned with marigolds. All paraded down Mexico City’s main thoroughfare to kick off the annual Day of the Dead festivities that run through Nov. 2 with rituals continuing in town plazas, homes and cemeteries leading up to All Saints’ Day. More than 700 performers prepared for months for the colorful afternoon procession along more than four miles of the expansive Paseo de la Reforma.
Children Had Their Faces Painted in the Style of La Catrina as they Prepared to March
They were joined by a group wearing fluorescent aid-worker vests who marched with fists in the air — a tribute to the rescuers who had made the gesture to demand silence as they listened for desperate survivors in the rubble from the second quake. But the earthquakes did not diminish the centuries-old Mexican celebration. Participants and onlookers alike painted their faces as colorful skulls — many in the style of Mexico’s iconic figure known as La Catrina.
Musicians Dressed as a Mexican Character also Known as “The Elegant Death.”
“We’re not only here to celebrate and dance, but also when there’s a disastrous situation we come together to help,” Violeta Canella Juárez, 31, told Reuters. Local news media reported that at least 300,000 people attended 2017 "Day of the Death" parade, up from 200,000 in 2016.
Also in the procession: A Puppet Depicting the Skeleton of a Dog
The parade concluded with mariachi musicians belting out Mexican folk songs from a float covered with flowers and colored paper like the boats that cruise the canals in the south of the city. “The point of this parade is to celebrate life,” its artistic director, Alejandra González Anaya, said. “It’s to put on the radar of Mexicans an important tradition,” she added. “We feel proud of showing something so important from Mexico to the world.”
More than 700 Performers Prepared for Months for the Parade
Along More than Four Miles of the Paseo de la Reforma
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Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.