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The World Needs a Day of the Dead Emoji

The World Needs a Day of the Dead Emoji Says NZ Mexican Food Company…

And We’re the Ones to Give It to Them

New Zealand owned Mexican food brand, Cartel Food Co., is rallying for support of the world’s first Day of the Dead emoji, ahead of the annual holiday on 1 and 2 November. Co-founders, Melissa and Jason Phillips, will be submitting a proposal to Unicode Consortium, the governing body that oversees emoji development, urging them to add a Day of the Dead emoji to the international emoji keyboard.

Currently, holiday emojis are restricted to just a couple of mainstream festivities, such as Halloween and Christmas, but Cartel Food Co. argues that this means other cultures and celebrations are missing out.

Also referred to as Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead is celebrated by thousands of people throughout Mexico and the rest of the world. Family and friends gather to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and to help support their spiritual journey.

“We have always loved Mexico’s colourful celebrations and family traditions, including Day of the Dead. Everything is so incredibly rich and vibrant from the music, tastes and spices, to the decorations, clothing and other visual prompts,” explains Melissa.

“It is one of the many reasons we were drawn to Mexican cuisine in the first place. It also inspired our logo, a sugar skull, which symbolises a celebration of life and is very closely associated with the Day of the Dead festivities.”

Cartel Food Co. has launched a campaign via to drum up support for the new emoji. Signatures, media coverage and social media conversations will be used as evidence in the petition to Unicode.

“Emojis have changed the way that we communicate,” says Jason. “We use them to express our emotions and to celebrate milestones, whether it’s through our phones, email or social media. Holidays and festivities are a hugely important part of life for many cultures throughout the world and we would love to see a more diverse range of emojis to reflect that.”

Cartel Food Co. is organising a competition via Facebook and Instagram, which will encourage the public, both from New Zealand and overseas, to submit their own ideas for the Day of the Dead emoji. A winner will be chosen at the end of November, with their design being the one that is included in the Cartel Food Co.’s petition to Unicode.

“One of the most iconic and colourful items during the Day of the Dead festivities is the sugar skull, or calavera, so we’re expecting to see a lot of variations on that design,” says Melissa.

“Unlike the skulls you see at Halloween, these are happy, colourful and smiling. The skulls are meant to capture the joy and reflect the happy memories associated with lost loved ones. They’re often customised with feathers, glitter, hats, or other objects to make them even more personal.”

Cartel Food Co. is encouraging other Mexican brands from New Zealand and the rest of the world to get involved. They will be using the hashtag #DayoftheDeadEmoji to help spread the word.

“It would be fantastic if we could all come together to make this happen,” smiles Melissa.

Cartel Food Co. produces New Zealand’s only frozen burrito. The burritos are deliciously authentic. They are handmade, hand rolled and use only the highest quality ingredients.

There are currently five burritos in the Cartel Food Co. range: Poblano Chilli Pulled Pork, Smokey Chipotle Chilli Shredded Beef, Chilli & Lime Shredded Chicken, Beans & Cheese and their 100% vegan burrito, Black Bean, Roasted Corn and Chilli Lime Tofu.

For more information on Cartel Food Co., the people and the products, visit, or follow the brand on Facebook or Instagram.


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