Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

The “The Day of the Dead” is one of the most vibrant and colourful traditions in Mexico. It has its roots in traditions from the indigenous people of pre-Columbian Mexico, some of the groups that used to celebrate this occasion were the Teotihuacanos, the Aztecs, and Mexica.

These societies used to give offerings to their deceased depending on their age and how they died, and these offerings would help the dead transition from life to death. With the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and the Catholic religion, these traditions began to change as the Catholic Church gave it a religious connotation naming it All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Faithful Dead, both celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November.

So there is the origin of this wonderful tradition that today we know as the Day of the Dead. Today in modern Mexico, a lot of people still prepare altars for their loved ones that are not with us anymore, and they include all sorts of items, from candle lights, food, and drinks to photos and flowers liked by the deceased. The light from the candles left on the altar is supposed to guide the dead in their transition and to taste the offerings from the altar.

The altar usually has some important elements that should not be missed, such as photos of the deceased, a cross, personal objects such as eyeglasses or a watch, or something that represents them. Food is very important in the altars, and people usually include dishes that the deceased used to love when they were alive.

On this celebration, Mexicans also bake “Day of the dead bread,” which they share with the whole family accompanied by real Mexican hot chocolate. Some people also include a photo of the figure of a Xoloitzcuintle, a dog that is supposed to guide them on their journey. Such a colourful and flavorful festival would not be complete without smelling, so altars usually include Mexican marigold flowers and incense.

This is a very important tradition as it is part of our indigenous heritage, even more than Halloween, and it is the perfect excuse to gather with family, remember loved ones and enjoy some delicious “Pan de Muerto” or bread of the dead.

Source of content: Unamglobal, Wikipedia.

Source of photo: Artwork of Paloma Morales

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