Dia de los Muertos, London-style


After being back in London for roughly three weeks now, my first time back in over two years since my last study abroad program ended, I’ve been particularly interested in finding as many interesting cultural events as possible. London is known for being a vibrant, cultural hub. Take an hour to walk around any part of London, and you’ll meet people from all over the world. My MA course is practically a mini United Nations! This diversity is a large part of why I love this city so much.

That being said, I come from a Mexican background (well, half of me) and I’ve lived in California my whole life, which sometimes feels like an extension of Mexico. In California, if I’m craving an authentic taco al pastor, or if I want to go to a mercado, I don’t have to stray too far. In London, however, the Mexican population is vastly underrepresented. Because of this, it’s hard to have that connection with Mexican culture that I have back home.

This brings me to today: I was exiting the tube at Tottenham Court Road station with my friend Trent, another Californian in London, because we were on a mission to find a frozen yogurt place cheekily called Snog. While we were walking, I noticed a poster for a free Dia de los Muertos celebration taking place at The British Museum! For those of you who may not be familiar with Dia de los Muertos, it’s a holiday dedicated to celebrating the memories of loved ones who have passed on. Different countries celebrate in different ways, but generally there are special altars created with flowers and pictures, and there are candle-lit processions with music, dancing, and people dressed up in skeleton costumes. Here’s a photo I took of two of my friends, Risha and Steena, in San Francisco in 2007: Dia de los Muertos in SF

Having never been to The British Museum before, I don’t know what to expect but it sounds like it will be a fun way to spend a Sunday in London!

Now to figure out how to make a gluten-free version of pan de muertos…

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12 thoughts on “Dia de los Muertos, London-style

  1. Hi Amanda,

    a very interesting post, I indeed have never heard about Dia de los Muertos but it sounds very fascinating. Especially that bit about people dressing up as skeletons, as the topic of death is often more or less ignored in the european culture.

      • No not at all. Maybe you could compare it to Feast of Corpus Christi, that’s a christian Catholic tradition but hardly celebrated in Germany anymore (in fact as I’m not baptised I don’t know a lot about it). But I think it’s more a quiet and rather sad day on which you remember the dead.

  2. Nina says:

    Hola Amanda, not sure if you remember this or not, but Uncle Dave was hit by a car while riding his bike to the Santa Clara train station on 11/1/00 – Dia de los Muertos. He suffered a broken collar bone, but the doctors said it could have been so much worse. Thankfully we have “mucha familia” to watch over all of us, and I’m sure they all worked overtime that day. Don’t forget to celebrate the day before – Halloween and the day after – All Saints Dia. One more thing – make a gluten free biscuit and pour your favorite sugary topping on top and there you have it – gluten free pan dulce! Love, Nina

    • I do remember…scary times! I’ll be sure to pack in as much celebrating as possible from Halloween until then, and I’ll let you know how my gluten-free baking endeavors turn out!

  3. idontsleep says:

    you should check if beach burrito is still in soho! sigh. i am so happy that you’ve made it back. now i just need to get my ass over there.

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