MEXICO CITY -- Precisely 9,806 people dressed like zombies and took to the streets this past weekend to break a Guinness world record, offering an indication of just how willing Mexicans are to work together toward a goal -- albeit a strange one full of faux gore.
Mexico holds world records for things and places of historical importance. For example, it holds the record as the "largest city in the world in pre-Columbian times," while nearby Cholula, Puebla, is the site of the world's largest pyramid.
But the megalopolis of Mexico City, which harbors more than 20 million people, lends itself to taking records for all kinds of collective action, from zombie walks to kiss-ins and cooking efforts that have resulted in the world's largest taco, enchilada, cheesecake, King's cake and cup of hot chocolate, among others.
"It's part of our nature to beat records," wrote the journalist Carolina García in an article in El Universal newspaper in 2009. "It doesn't matter if the win is for the biggest taco, the longest game, the most impressive mass gathering of naked people… There is power in uniting to be recognized and, like they shout in protests… 'We are a helluva lot and we'll be even more.'"
Mexico City is probably best-known for the massive showing for photographer Spencer Tunick's iconic photo of naked bodies laying in the Zocalo, the city's central plaza and one of the world's largest public squares (no record here: the Zocalo falls short of Moscow's Red Square). Tunick told local press that he expected about 4,000 people; nearly 19,000 showed up to strip down to the nude. That was in 2007.
Since then, Mexico City has added to its roster of records. In 2009, a crowd of 39,897 people gathered in the Zocalo, coupled off and kissed for five seconds straight, robbing London of its title. Also in 2009, 13,597 people came together to dance Michael Jackson's "Thriller," while 2010 saw the addition of at least six Guinness world records including "most couples hugging" and the making of "the largest cup of hot chocolate."
Mexico City snatched its recent zombie walk record from Australia. It wasn't all fun and gore: The zombies generously brought canned goods and foodstuffs for donation to a local food bank.