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Economy and day of the dead: a balance of the living.


The day of the dead is a space of hope and reunions. The celebration that implies the possibility of seeing loved ones again along with their smells, flavors and colors has become an extremely attractive activity for world travelers. The challenges of this century and the current pandemic are a real challenge for this tradition

The pandemic and the closure of borders in some countries was a severe blow to the international economy, especially for developing and underdeveloped countries. For some of these, tourist services are one of the main economic activities and represent a good part of their GDP[1]; In this season, during the year 2019, approximately 44.7 million foreign tourists were captured, 8.3% more compared to 2018[2] in Mexico. Of the total, 52 thousand 122 tourists arrived in Oaxaca and generated an economic spill of 89 million pesos. With the red traffic light of the Covid-19, the parades, the visits to the pantheon and in general all the events that involved agglomeration of people were cancelled. The closure of small and medium-sized companies has been one of the consequences of confinement and with it many sources of income. Regarding the rest of the Republic, Oaxaca has been the state with the fewest definitive closures[3] with 13.88%; but while some closed their doors to never open them again in the green Antequera, 11.14% of new businesses were created, with respect to the total number of new projects at the national level.

Unfortunately many people died from this virus and new photos were added to family altars. Those who stayed must deal with the cost of the goods and services necessary to live, which are becoming more and more expensive. The National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism (CANACO) indicates that an average family spends $465.00 pesos on an altar; the most common products are candles, yellow flowers, sugar skulls, water or alcoholic beverages, food and photographs, the cost can vary depending on the levels you have and how splendid you want to be with your deceased, but it can range from $300.00 to $1000.00.

9 out of 10 Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead, which makes it the largest celebration in the entire country and; Despite the fact that the danger of the pandemic has not completely disappeared, the social weariness due to confinement is seen in the crowded streets of the Oaxacan capital. The dependence on income from tourism puts public health in a predicament, as there is fear of a possible fourth wave of COVID and again the partial closure of both social and economic activities.

The current pace of life goes too fast, and in the end no one will be left to boast that such “it went at the fair”[4]. Death knows no social classes and not even the richest man in the world can make a tempting offer to the Grim Reaper.


[1]The gross domestic product (GDP) is an economic indicator that reflects the monetary value of all final goods and services produced by a territory in a given period of time. It is used to measure the wealth generated by a country.

[2] Data provided by the Ministry of Tourism.

[3] Figures regarding existing businesses in 2019, the state with the highest percentage of definitive closure was Quintana Roo with 31.88%.

[4] It is used to indicate that each person usually expresses their opinions about something specific according to the experience they have had in a given matter.

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