Did You Know That Mexico City's Day of the Dead Parade Was Created Because of a James Bond Movie?

Image: ​​James Bond 007 Youtube

When you think of Día de Los Muertos, what do you imagine?

Food? Cempasuchil flowers? Catrinas? Altars? Family? An intimate celebration?

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Traditionally, Día de Los Muertos is celebrated in households or cemeteries - two places where families can connect with their departed loved ones. 

In Mexico City, however, this all changed with the release of Sam Mendes’ film Spectre (2015).Spectre is the fourth film in which Daniel Craig portrays the cunning, independent, and infamous 007 spy, James Bond. 

In proper 007 fashion, the film opens with Bond chasing after a villain through a parade in Mexico City in which attendees were dressed in skeleton outfits, Catrina attire, suits, and all things Día de Los Muertos. 

The cinematic universe is known for influencing society and being influenced by society. 

In a nearly full circle motion, the creators of the opening scene of Spectre took influence from Day of the Dead celebrations all throughout Mexico and created a scene like no other. 

Floats, marionettes, thousands of dancers, skeleton masks, music, elaborate costumes, food, and so much more. 

Simply put, Hollywood created a Mexican spectacle, and the influencer became the influenced.

Fascination with Día de Los Muertos celebrations skyrocketed following the release of the film. 

Tourists and locals alike now anticipated a real life parade - one that resembled the film.

Mexico then had to execute a celebration to match the high energy opening scene of Spectre

The country’s Tourism Board decided to pull in their resources and create a Día de Los Muertos parade not only for the honoring of their tradition but to draw in more tourists. 

In order to fully capture the film's spectacle, the parade included many of the costumes and props which were used in the movie. 

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Unlike the film, this parade also celebrated the traditional Mexican and Pre-Columbian cultures as they included Aztec dancers. 

As reported by the BBC, it cost $500,000 to create the parade, 650 volunteers to put it together, and more than 250,000 people came to watch. 

While many believed the film recreated a real life parade, it was in fact the 007 franchise which inspired the 2016 Día de Los Muertos parade in Mexico City. 

What We Know About the 2022 Parade

The parade will be held on October 29 and will last roughly five hours. Per the last five years, it is suggested to arrive early as viewing can be difficult. 

Streets increasingly become crowded as the day goes on and many roads are closed down. 

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The parade route starts at the Zocalo and ends at Campo Marte, so you can line up to see the parade anywhere between those two locations. 

Most information will be announced in late September/early October by the CDMX Tourism Department. 

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About the Author

Eliana Flores-Barber

Eliana Flores-Barber is a Mexican-American writer and photographer based out of California. She graduated from Emerson College with a journalism degree and an art history minor. Her love of storytelling comes from her grandparents who always shared stories of their family history and life in Mexico. When she is not working, you can find her on the tennis court.

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