Dia de los Muertos
Mexico celebrates a yearly tradition called Day of the Dead
during the last days of October and the first days of November.
Due to the duration of this festivity and the way people get involved it has been called
"The Cult of Death."
As in many Latin American countries,
Mexico commemorates the Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.
The legacy of past civilizations is graphically manifested
on this occasion through people’s beliefs that death is a transition
from one life to another in different levels where communication exists
between the living and the dead.
This communication takes place once a year throughout the country.
Day of the Dead in Mexico is not a mournful commemoration
but a happy and colorful celebration where death takes a lively, friendly expression.
Indigenous people believed that souls did not die ,
that they continued living in Mictlan, a special place to rest.
In this place, the spirits rest until the day they could return to their homes to visit their relatives.
Before the Spaniards arrived,
they celebrated the return of the souls
between the months of July and August.
Once arrived, the Spaniards changed the festivities
to November 2nd to coincide with All Souls’ Day of the Catholic Church.
Presently, two celebrations honoring the memory of loved ones who have died take place:
On November 1st, the souls of the children are honored with special designs in the altars, using color white on flowers and candles.
On November 2nd the souls of the adults are remembered with a variety of rituals,
according to the different states of the Mexican republic.
Create a special time and space to remember and honor the loved ones by offering them an ofrenda, the fragrance of the flowers, the light of the candles,
the aroma of special foods and the solemnity of prayers.
It is also a time to joke and make fun of death through "calaveras",
poetry allusive to a particular person, generally politicians; sugar,
chocolate and amaranth skulls which are given to one another with their friend’s name
so "they can eat their own death"
and special crafts allusive to different aspects of the living,
with skeletons representing daily activities.
People start getting ready for the celebration on the third week of October
with the harvesting of the cempasuchitl flower,
also known as the flower of the twenty petals.
On the altar they will place the ofrendas of fruits,
vegetables and the special dishes prepared for the soul to enjoy the essence of the aroma of the food.
This altar will also have items that once belonged to the deceased.
On November 2nd, the souls of the adults are honored
in their homes with beautifully decorated altars.
Each state has different styles
but all of them represent a place where the ofrenda becomes a spiritual communion between life
Again, in each state the making of the altar and the rituals are different.
Day of the Dead is a time of reflection about the meaning of life
and the mission that one needs to fulfill.
During the celebration of Day of the Dead
all feelings and beliefs come together
in a season that brings to life the memory of the loved ones.
Love, peace & light