The world is a beautiful amalgamation of various cultures. Every country has its culture and sub-cultures that come together as a mosaic of colourful traditions during the time of festivals. Like we Indians have Diwali, Holi, Navratri other countries have such festivals too. We are talking about Mexico’s Day of the Dead. A day celebrated in the honour of the dead and begone.
You might or might not have heard about it, but we think you should really know about this intriguing and phenomenal event that happens annually. Want to find out more about this festival? Here is everything you need to know about this festival.
When And Where Is This Festival Celebrated?
Dia De Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is a reflection of the Mexican culture but it is celebrated across the whole of Latin America with vibrant Calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeleton). And, a two days holiday is observed on the 1st and 2nd of November, every year.
How Is It Celebrated?
This day marks the never-ending bond between family members. The cities and towns of Mexico, see colours of joy and happiness and demonstrate the importance of love and togetherness on this day. Honoring the dead is surely the theme of this day, but people celebrate it in order to make their deceased family members happy.
They decorate their homes with flowers and colourful streamers to welcome their ancestors from the other world and involve them in the festivities. From parties to great food, parades and competitions everything fun happens here at the Day of the dead.
There are some misconceptions about this event that relate it to Halloween or even sadness. But this festival is totally about happiness, togetherness and life affirming joy and is nowhere near Halloween’s theme of darkness and death.
History Of This Day
The roots of the origin of the Day Of The Dead lie way back to some 3000 years and hold association with the Columbian Mesoamerican rituals that included honoring the dead. The Aztec and the Nahua people residing in the central parts of Mexico used to believe that dead people are an integral part of life and they are ever present. They also believed, that after death, a person reaches the Chicunamictlán, the Land of the Dead.
And then, his journey through the nine realms levels begins. The final destination being Mictlán, the final resting place. This inspired the people to honour their deceased loved ones and decorate their graves while offering them food, flowers and other offerings.
Interesting Facts About This Festival
- In 2014, over 500 women dressed as Catrina, gathered in Mexico City to set a Guinness world record.
- This is a UNESCO recognised festival. According to UNESCO, ‘cultural heritage is not just the monuments. It is in fact the heritage that the people hold inside their hearts and express during these festivities.
- The Calavera Catrina of a cartoonish figure of a skull decorated with colours is the most prominent and popular symbol of this festival.
- The Bread of the dead, called the Pan de Muerto is a typical sweet bread that is specially decorated with bones to feed the dead. Further, sugar skulls are also prepared to mark these sweet festivities.
- Costumes and Mexican paper crafts are a very important part of the fun, you truly celebrate the day when you live up to all the celebrations rituals truthfully.
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