Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Day of the Dead Festival, 2024

1 November - 2 November

Loading Events

Many people associate the Day of the Dead Festival with Mexico, but actually it is an equally important part of the culture of Guatemala (on 1 November) and El Salvador, as well as Brazil, where it is known as Finados.

The Day of the Dead has nothing to do with the zombie apocalypse, nor the Day of the Dead Film. Essentially it is a time for families to remember dead relatives. It often involves a visit to the cemetery to tend the graves of deceased family members whilst sitting around reminiscing and sharing the favourite food and drink of the departed. Ceremonies and customs vary from region to region and town to town.

Day of the Dead Facts

The ceremony’s roots are in the Aztec traditions of worship towards the goddess Mictecacihuatl, but as it falls on 2 November every year, the Catholic Church absorbed into All Saints’ Day.

In Mexico City the event is now celebrated with a procession to the Zocolo, the square in the heart of the city. It takes on a commercial carnival-like atmosphere and moves away somewhat from the traditional celebrations, though it is still very interesting.

Day of the Dead Festival in Film

In this, life is imitating art, as the James Bond film, Spectre, was an imagined Day of the Dead procession that the city then chose to do for real, using volunteers and some of the props from the film.

Day of the Dead Costume

Many citizens paint their faces and dress up as skeletal-like figures, often female with big hats. Some know these as the Catrina, or ‘the lady of the dead’. Another way of visualising these figures is by looking at the art of Frieda Kahlo.

Day of the Dead Festival (Dia de los Muertos)
Unknown woman at the 15th annual Day of the Dead Festival (Dia de los Muertos), Deposit Photos

When is the Day of the Dead Festival 2024?

The Day of the Dead is celebrated on 2 November in Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador, but on 1 November in Guatemala.

Flights to Mexico

British Airways flies direct from London to Mexico. From the US, there are flights to El Salvador direct from Los Angeles, Washington and Houston. Similarly, from the US to Guatemala direct, you can choose from the following cities: Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta.

Hotels in Mexico City

If you are looking for hotels in Mexico City for the Day of the Dead, you should book up a long time in advance.

More information on the Day of the Dead in Mexico

Click here. For other festivals around the world, visit our Events page. 


1 November
2 November


Mexico City
Mexico City,Mexico+ Google Map

Explore Topics

Mike East

Mike East

Mike began his career in travel writing by writing his own guide on his holidays. He sent this manuscript off to a range of travel guide companies and got a range of rejection letters — all except one. Getting a contract to write for Roger Lascelles Publications on Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas was how his career began. With this opportunity came other pieces for British magazines, The Sunday Telegraph and now Travel Begins at 40.

Read more posts by Mike East →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *