Face painting, Mexico-style during Day of the Dead – photo © Travel the Unknown

The event: Despite the name, this is no sombre remembrance of the departed but a joyous event celebrated throughout Mexico. www.dayofthedead.com

When: November 2, 2012

What happens: From brightly-adorned graves and papier-mache skulls to bakery windows full of skeleton-shaped bread, children’s sugar skull sweets and competitions for the best-decorated altar, Mexico’s most colourful festival is held on All Souls’ Day and is marked in many different ways across the country.

Do it: A 10-day tour of Oaxaca, discovering its celebrations of the festival and then exploring ancient archaeological sites, natural landscapes, a cloud forest and local markets, costs £2,325 with Travel the Unknown, leaving on October 29.


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