Not all holidays need to be spent solely on the beach. For those who like the sun but are more inclined toward unusual or intriguing holiday destinations or activities, Mexico may be your ideal destination. While Mexico is a wonderful destination for beach life and parties, away from the sea you will find inviting and intriguing sights and local specialties (no, I’m not just talking about the great food). This is a place where the sun shines often and warm weather finds its home; it is also a place where Death dances with a smile on its face and the people join in.
For most who have spent time in North America, the word “Mexico” triggers stereotypical images of Speedy Gonzales (the fastest mouse in Mexico), the Taco Bell Chihuahua, and the tune to the “Mexican hat dance” among other things. It may also bring up thoughts of drug wars and tequila.
These stereotypes however do not come close to capturing the heart of the nation. While Mexico has had and continues to have its share of power struggles, corruption and poverty, it is also a nation of incredible spirit, determination, creativity, and joy. Mexico’s history has been very dramatic and has given root to interesting cultural phenomena such as the country’s nomination of Death as its patron saint.
For the gothically inspired and bemused this aspect of Mexican culture is very exciting. The iconic Death characters and representations all over Mexico are not an exercise in the macabre; rather they are an exploration of, and call to, joy-filled living.
If you (like me) find yourself drawn to amusing and quirky representations of death (perhaps Tim Burton fans, among others?), you will love Mexico’s Aguascalientes region.
Aguascalientes is at the centre of Mexico. Here you will find in this region many representations, art pieces, and icons related to death. Do not expect to encounter the explicitly macabre though, here you will find melodramatic (think Burton’s Vincent) and childlike joy in the face of death him (or her) self.
When you arrive at Aguascalientes your most important stop is The Museo National de la Muerte/ The National Museum of Death. This amazing museum features displays of lively skeletons in costume, everything from Mexican revolutionaries, bullfighters, and brides. The museum is a life affirming light-hearted look at death and its irrefutable connection to life.
Aguascalientes is also the birthplace and home of famous Mexican lithograph artist José Guadalupe Posada who had a dramatic influence of Mexico’s culture and Dia de los Muertos celebrations by turning symbols of death into an expression of vibrancy and life through his ‘Catrina’ caricature, an emblematic elegant skeleton dressed in Victorian clothes.
Especially for those easily bored of beaches, Mexico holidays can be exceptionally relaxing and life affirming as you dance (metaphorically or not) and celebrate with Death, embracing all that is great about life and feeling inspired to live in freedom and joy. Sure, the beaches are great here, but the life-affirming attitude and delight is truly something wonderful.
About our Guest Author: K Newey is a copywriter who has a healthy obsession with quirky gothic characters and stories. She is also a fan of Tim Burton films and Mexico’s Dia De Los Muertos festival, which she thinks everyone ought to celebrate. Holidays to Mexico are highly recommended.