Unforgettable faces of Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos is a colourful celebration of life and culture.  Here are some images of the faces and people of Patzcuaro and Morelia in the state of Michoacan, where Day of the Dead  traditions are still very much alive.

Goulish bride for Mexico's Day of the Dead

Catrina for Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Elegant figures of female skeletons cruise the streets during the days leading up to Day of the Dead.  Originally created by Jose Guadalupe Posada to  satirize people who abandoned their Mexican heritage for that of European aristocracy, catrinas have grown to become a symbol for Dia de los Muertos itself. 

Little Catarina in Patzcuaro

Simple but effective face paint on this little Catrina in Patzcuaro

A procession of children dressed as bride and groom calaveras ( skeletons).

La Danza de Los Viejitos of Michoacan

La Danza de Los Viejitos of Michoacan

Social commentary is an important part of Day of the Dead. La Danza de los Viejitos is a humorous dance where dancers dressed as elderly campesinos poke fun at Spnaish conquistadors.


Pretty Catarina figurine in Patzcuaro

Pretty Catrina figurine in Patzcuaro

The catarina figurines made of marzipan and/or wax are intricate and beautiful.

Two Morelia teenagers dressed as catarinas

Two Morelia teenagers dressed as the skeletal figures of las catarinas

Processions in Patzcuaro are a rare opportunity to experience the living culture of Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

Two little girls in Day of the Dead procession in Patzcuaro

Two little girls in a Day of the Dead procession in Patzcuaro

Everyone is happy to pose for a Day of the Dead photo near the cathedral in Morelia

Teenagers ready for Dia de los Muertos in Morelia

Teenagers with faces painted for Dia de los Muertos in Morelia

Travel Planner

Get instructions from professional face painter Lilly Walters on How to do Day of the Dead Sugar Skull face-painting 

For a full listing of Day of the Dead activities in Patzcuaro for 2014, see the Day of the Dead Activities Schedule

For details on how to take the bus to Patzcuaro, where to stay, what to eat, see  Complete Travel Guide to Patzcuaro. 

For more on Dia de los Muertos culture and traditions, see  Countdown to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. 

Details on visiting a cemetery in Oaxaca City for Day of the Dead, see Cemetery Tripping in Oaxaca City 

Visit the official tourism website for Michoacan Tourism 


Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 15 comments
  • esperanza

    Mexicans seem at ease with the fact of death , a fact of life we North Americans tend to ignore or try to treat with sombre respect. Very effective costumes and makeup, interesting, if rather gruesome.

  • Juergen | dare2go

    I’d love to be in Mexico for the “Day of the Death”, as it must be an incredible experience! Every time I visited this beautiful country it was at different times of the year so I missed it. Ah well, one day I’ll be back…

  • Lesley Peterson

    It looks as though Michoacan is a great destination Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico! Loved your explanation of the traditions as well as the photos.

  • Leigh

    Great job on capturing the faces. The black around the eyes gives everyone a haunting look.

  • Lisa Chavis

    These pictures are awesome!! We had the chance to visit Tulum one year for Day of the Dead and it was an incredible experience. So much beautiful symbolism and a unique way of looking at death and the afterlife.

  • Barbara Bunce Desmeules

    Beautiful photos! Great description!

  • Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru

    The best way of looking at the intersection of death and life is to celebrate it like this! Great photos!

  • Irene S Levine

    What wonderful photos and such a great time to be in Mexico!

  • Donna Janke

    Great photos. The make-up on the Day of the Dead celebrants is so well done.

  • Wandering Carol

    Amazing photographs! Seriously. You need to enter them in a contest. My favourite is the two little girls in black. So cool.

  • A Cook Not Mad (Nat)

    I hope to make it to Mexico for Dia de los Muertos one year, it looks like such a good time.

  • Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    We were in the Yucatan area of Mexico a couple of years ago and fell in love with the elegant catrina statues. Some of ceramic catrinas were very beautifully decorated and ranged from life-size to very small figurines. We especially like the statues showing them in different professions (shoemaker, baseball player, seamstress)that we saw at a folk art museum in Merida. I think our favorite memory though was going to a bakery and seeing a whole life-size skeleton made of bread dough lying in repose on a table!

  • Sue Reddel

    Great photos! I love reading about Dia de los Muertos there’s something that’s just fascinating about it. You did a great job capturing it.

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers

    What spectacular images!

  • Michelle

    I have heard of this before but never seen photos. It looks like fun and I would love to see some of these fabulous costumes!

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