Unique Traditions: Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead

Like so many things in Mexican culture, death is a many layered concept. For some people it’s viewed as a time to solemnly honor those who aren’t with us anymore. This includes anyone from close relatives, pets and even strangers. In this particular point of view of death, people place altars better known as “ofrendas” which have several key elements to make them as authentic as possible.

Let’s talk about ofrendas

Ofrendas are mainly decorated with Papel picado, which is thin colorful paper with cut outs that resemble skulls. Another main element you’ll find in ofrendas, and pretty much anywhere around town in the months of October and November, is a flower called Cempasuchil. This orange flower is arranged in certain ways that “guide” the dead. But what truly makes it a personal altar, is placing things that the person we are honoring loved.

Themed ofrendas

A common theme for public space ofrendas, are celebrities. Such is the case of the Coyoacan house of Emilio Fernandez. Famously known for his place in Mexican cinema in the first half of the twentieth century, “El Indio” Fernandez is still talked about today for the transformation of his house every year into a huge altar for many celebrities. With the elements previously mentioned drowning the walls and hallways of the house, you will find many Mexican pop culture icons being honored like Maria Felix, Cantiflas, Pedro Infante and Frida Kahlo. It’s a must in your trip around Coyoacan to stop by and take a tour.


The other side of the day of the day of the Dead celebrations includes shedding a light on this serious topic with humor. Poems called calaveritas are written in rhyme with topics that include death as a humorous character that encounters people who either get taken away or are able to cleverly escape their fate through word play. It’s not uncommon also to escape their fate by offering death a drink. This is another clear example of how, rather than shying away from this somber topic, Mexicans love to see death in the face and meet it with a life well lived.

Not to be confused with Halloween, the day of the Dead, is an authentic Mexican experience that is best lived through those who inhabit this country. It’s definitely worth the visit to Mexico during this time of year, to be able to see, taste and enjoy all of the colorful celebrations surrounding this incredible tradition.


Ofrenda at Nima Local House 2017.

Fuerza Mexico -Techo & Kaluz x Nima Local House


Readapting to everyday life after what happened during the month of September, in Mexico City and other parts of the country made day to day activities seem magic. The route to work that’s usually in a hurry and not necessarily pleasant, became letting others pass before you, saying good morning to strangers on the street and being thankful the building where you work were still on their feet. Not everyone had the same luck, and it was fundamental to the recovery of the country that those who did, gave three times their efforts to help their brothers. Fuerza Mexico was something you read everywhere; posters on the street, store windows and the faces of the people who went out on the streets to reactivate not only the economy, but the vibe of the country.

There have been countless contributions, not only economic ones, but in time and many forms that have been given by many, not only by Mexicans but by people all around the world. Showing even now almost a month later that resiliency is definitely engrained on the collective conscience of Mexicans.

It’s time to help

At Nima we have joined the movement, inviting all who have entered our home to join forces and help us give a worthy home to those who were affected by the earthquake. We are still helping, and looking for allies for our project. Because we have learned that just a couple of minutes can change thousands of lives and we want to face those changes with positive outcomes.

We are collecting donations that will be used to build houses in strategic locations where help is much needed. Foundation Kaluz has pledged to double all of our donations in order to make as many houses as possible. In an effort to encourage guests at Nima to donate, we have decided to offer 20% discount in any of our rooms to those that send your donations receipts to!