The smell of incense is in the air as Mexico prepares for Dia de Muertos or the Day of the Dead, a timeless tradition of honoring loved ones who have departed this earth. Here in the Riviera Maya, visitors can learn about this extraordinary outpouring of faith at Xcaret Park, where for the ninth year running, the Festival of Life & Death will take place from October 30 to November 2. This year the Festival’s special guest is Michoacan, a state famous for its rich heritage, including three of the country’s cultural offerings that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage: the Day of the Dead, Pirecua music and cuisine.

A delegation of 250 musicians, dancers, actors, artists, craftsmen and chefs from Michoacan will join Mayan communities from Quintana Roo and Yucatan and some of Xcaret’s 300 performers in Festival events. The program features two concerts hosted by acclaimed Mexican actor Ignacio Lopez Tarso and world-famous tenor Fernando de la Mora; Pirecua music performed by the Tata Vasco Orchestra, Bola Suriana and Los Caporales harpists among others, the theater representation of Purepecha legends and traditional dances from Michoacan such as Los Viejitos and Danza del Pescado.

A huge altar from Janitzio, the island in Lake Patzcuaro famous for its Day of the Dead processions and vigils, will have pride of place in the traditional exhibition of flower and food-laden altars.

Festival goers will be able to sample cuisine associated with Day of the Dead celebrations in Michoacan, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan and purchase a selection of handicrafts produced by communities in the three states.

For more information on the Festival of Life and Death visit or ask at the Thomas More Travel desk in your resort.