Day of the Dead Traditions and Parochial Crypts Visit

Day of the Dead

By Emma Salazar

Day of the Dead

According to local historian Graciela Cruz there are references to the parochial cemetery since the foundation of the first parish church at the Santa Escuela (the church next to the current Parroquia) in 1564. Cruz adds that the cemetery was extended from east to west and from south to north beginning in 1680. During the 18th century, the graveyard had to give up part of its land so that a new main square (which formerly had been Plaza de la Soledad outside the Oratorio and next to what is Ramírez Market today) could be built. The historian explains that the parochial cemetery was at first a burial ground for deceased Spaniards: “The Indians were buried in the cemetery of the hospital of the Limpia Concepción (Immaculate Conception), where there was also a chapel, located between the Parroquia and Cuadrante street.” The parochial cemetery started falling into disuse when the cemeteries of San Rafael and San Juan de Dios were opened in 1770; nevertheless, people continued being buried there.

On November 2, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of the parochial crypts and learn more about historical sites left behind for centuries but alive in the culture and tradition of Mexicans. The historian Graciela Cruz and Silvia Treviño Claywell, professional simultaneous translator, will lead this tour. For further information, please call: 127 0450, 127 0453 or email

Truly Experiencing the Day of the Dead

Why do Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead? Myths and Facts. Mexico is a country full of culture and traditions and one of the most peculiar traditions is the celebration of the Day of the Dead. But why do Mexicans celebrate Day of the Dead? Why do they sing, joke, laugh, and seemingly show no fear of death?

The celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico is one of the most firmly rooted festivals for Mexicans with prehispanic origin; the popular belief is that the deceased have divine permission to visit relatives and past friends on Earth and enjoy once again the pleasures of the living through eating and drinking.

Relatives adorn graves of their dead with flowers, food, drink, and much more. In addition, colorful and often elaborate altars are constructed for the friends and family. It is one of the most popular and important celebrations of the living heritage of Mexico and recognized worldwide. This has been an ancient cultural expression of great importance in the indigenous Mexican groups. On November 1, the historian Héctor Sanson will help you understand the festivities of the Day of the Dead through a talk focused on the origins, the hows, whys, and myths of this fascinating celebration. At the conclusion of Sanson’s presentation, we will be offering a guided tour through some of the more notable altars in the city, including explanations of the elements of this traditional Day of the Dead offering.


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