Mexican poet Octavio Paz once wrote, “Our cult of death is also our cult of life.” Those words capture the spirit with which Mexicans celebrate Día de Muertos. On November 1 and 2, families in Mexico honor those who have departed, setting up colorful altars at home and in public places with the images of loved ones. These ancestors are greeted with their favorite foods, drinks, sugar skulls, colored paper, marigold flowers, candles and incense. It’s a true celebration of culture and family — and has even been declared “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.
Today, we want to invite everyone to experience Mexico’s tradition of paying tribute to life, through the Day of the Dead exhibition on Google Arts & Culture. The content is curated by 10 cultural organizations from Mexico, Peru and the United States and explores the Pre-Columbian roots of this festivity, its many transformations through history and its contemporary manifestations as told by pieces of archaeology, folk art, prints, paintings, sculptures, street art and many other artforms. The collection includes over 500 artworks and artifacts, 20 exhibits, 11 Street View virtual tours through cemeteries and museums and two guided tours that users can experience with a Cardboard viewer. A Google Expedition also allows teachers around the world to take their classes on a virtual field trip through the history of the Day of the Dead.
Start the exhibition online at g.co/diademuertos or download the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS or Android to dive into the ancient roots of the Day of the Dead through codices and sculptures. You can explore the different representations of death in folk art pieces from all over the country; savor the paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and learn about Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexico’s most famous illustrator and father of the iconic Catrina.
If you’re new to this tradition, get to know the elements that make up an Offering; enjoy the calaveras crafted by the legendary family Linares, visit the colossal skulls made by Mexican artisans for the 2015 James Bond movie, Spectre and even take a stroll through the San Andrés Mixquic’s cemetery during Día de Muertos.
Whichever route you choose, we invite you to explore death as a celebration of life.