El Día de los Muertos is Mexico's most iconic celebration. With facepaint, colour and creativity, each village, town and city has its own unique way of celebrating...
Janitzio is a small island in Pátzcuaro Lake, lying to the west of Mexico City, and is home to the best-known Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico. The local cuisine, declared an "intangible world heritage" by UNESCO, is unrivalled. The best part of the celebrations here is the midnight parade of boats during Noche de los Muertos that light up the lake with candles.
OAXACA CITY, OAXACA
A part of Oaxacan mortuary custom is to create tapetas de arenas - sand tapestries - in the home of a person that has passed away. For Día de los Muertos, they often feature whimsical images of skeletons and other themes related to the celebration. Not to be missed is the giant sand tapestry and colourful altar that feature in the Museo del Palacio in the centre of town.
SANTIAGO SACATEPEQUEZ, GUATEMALA
Who said you had to stay in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Guatemala's Mayan-based celebration of Día de los Muertos closely resembles that of Mexico. However, it is the 3000-year-old tradition of flying the barriletes gigantes - extravagant and enormous kites designed to guide the dead back to life - that distinguishes one from the other.
SAN FRANCISCO, USA
November 2 marks San Francisco's Day of the Dead Procession and Festival of Altars. Thousands of people don ancestral costumes and facepaint to participate in the procession, as well as crafting traditional altars beforehand to welcome the departed.
As part of its Dia de los Muertos festivities Merida, often considered the safest city in Mexico, celebrates Hanal Pixan ("feast for the souls" in Maya language). Unique to this area of Mexico, families gather to cook pibipollo; chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves which are cooked in an underground pit. The dish is enjoyed by both the spirits, who are believed to pull up a chair and tuck in, and the living.