8 Things You Need to Know About the Day of the Dead

Atoda Madre Tequila Bar

Manila’s first-ever The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is just around the corner. Fresh in the Philippine festival scene, it’s best to have an idea of what to expect to get the best night out!

Here are 8 nuggets for you to understand the rich, Mexican celebration even better:

8. It’s called the Day of the Dead, but it’s primarily a celebration of life.

When dead loved ones are coming back for a single day per year, what better way to spend it than to celebrate?

The Day of the Dead is less about grieving and more about the celebration of life and the lively remembrance of those who returned.

7. It’s a 3000-year old Mexican tradition.

Yes, it’s older than your parents, your grandparents, and even your great-grandparents. The Day of the Dead traces its roots to early South American civilizations like the Aztec 2500-3000 years ago, merging with Catholic beliefs over time.

6. Skulls are literally everywhere.

Calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons) are the festival’s most prominent features. It’s the major theme, and you can easily spot them on brightly painted faces, vibrant costumes, ornate paper decorations, and even in food and sweets!


5. That famous skeleton wearing a hat full of flowers? Yes, she has a name.

La Calavera Catrína or “The Elegant Skull” by illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada has been the festival’s icon since the early 1900s. It’s a parody of an upper-class European woman and has been the basis of many Day of the Dead costumes and decorations ever since.


4. What’s a feast without food? The Day of the Dead brings out the best of Mexican delicacies.

When you know your loved ones are coming for a visit, you better have something special waiting for them. Ever-present in the list of delicious food served on the Day of the Dead are Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) and Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead).  


3. It isn’t complete without decorated altars for the dearly departed.

Placed near tombstones or at the comfort of their homes, Mexicans build beautiful altars to honor the lives of their departed loved ones.

These are adorned with ofrendas (offerings) that spirits will enjoy during their visit – tequila, mementos, sugar skulls, papel pícado (decorated papers), marigolds, candles, and many others.

2. It’s totally different from Halloween.

The Day of the Dead is neither scary nor spooky. There’s no trick or treating – instead, it’s a lively celebration of remembering fondly those who have passed away. Colorful and vibrant, your eyes are in for a ride!


1. Started in Mexico; now celebrated around the world.

What started as a tradition in Mexico has now conquered different parts of the globe. Jose Cuervo, the number one tequila in the world, hailing from Mexico, aims to introduce the Day of the Dead to as many cultures as possible worldwide – from London, USA, New Zealand, and now in the Philippines!

Mark your calendars. For a holiday weekend like no other, don’t miss the first-ever Day of the Dead in Manila on October 28, Friday. Felíz Día de los Muertos!


About Jose Cuervo

Established in 1795, Jose Cuervo is the leading manufacturer and distributor of the best-selling tequila worldwide. A family-owned brand that began in Mexico, Jose Cuervo owes the distinctive taste of their alcoholic beverages from the largest agave holding in the world. Aside from the best-selling Jose Cuervo Especial Silver, Reposado, and Añejo tequilas, the brand also offers the highest quality of dark-spiced rum, whiskey, gin, liqueurs, and more. To date, the brand has received multitudes of international awards, the double gold medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition being the latest.