The Day Of The Dead or Da de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated on NovemberP2 every year. Even though the festival is called the Day Of The Dead, it is truly a celebration of life as it reinforces the idea that life is short and young children should not fear death. Children learn that there is a circle of life when they eat sugar skulls and dance with the caricatures of death and begin to respect that life is brief. The days of the dead are celebrated from October 31 to November 2 as these are all days honouring those who have died. Day Of The Dead is a syncretic religious holiday, celebrated throughout Mexico, combining the death veneration rituals of the ancient Aztec culture with the Catholic practice (Picture: Getty Images)
Some believe that on the Day Of The Dead, the souls of the departed return to earth to visit with and provide counsel to their families and loved ones. November 2 is set aside in Mexican tradition to honour those souls who have passed. On the Day Of The Dead people will visit gravesites and the graves are cleaned up,Pweeds are pulled, debris is sweptPaway and the grave is decorated with flowers. Day Of The Dead Parade, Mexico City (Picture: Hannah Berry George) People will set up altars in their homes to commemorate those they have lost, the altar will be decorated with flowers, candles, ceramic skulls and pictures of their deceased loved ones. There will be a party in many graveyards as so many people flock to honour their loved ones at their burial ground.
They will also place food on the altar, maybe their loved ones favourite food and treats. Day Of The Dead Parade, Mexico City (Picture: Hannah Berry George) Drinks are traditionally placed on the altar to quench the thirst of the dead for their long journeyPhome. The ritual of the Day Of The Dead was started by the Aztecs some 3,000 years ago and when the Spanish arrived they simply could not quash the tradition. The idea of the Day Of The Dead survived and thrived as its rituals merged with elements of Christianity. Originally, Pthe Day Of The Dead was celebrated in the summertime but it moved to the beginningPof November to coincidePwith All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Mexicos Day of the Dead festival was recognised by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2008. MORE: MORE: Day of the Dead (known asP Da de MuertosP in Spanish) is celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. It s not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there,Pin the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make (called ofrendas ) in their homes to welcome the spirits.
Because of its importance as a defining aspect of and the unique aspects of thePcelebration which have been passed down through generations, Mexico s indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead was recognized by UNESCO as part of the of humanity in 2008. In Pre-Hispanic times, the dead were buried close to family homes (often in a tomb underneath the central patio of the house) and there was great emphasis on maintaining ties with deceased ancestors, who were believed to continue to exist on a different plane. With the arrival of the Spaniards and Catholicism, All Souls and All Saints Day practices were incorporated into Pre-Hispanic beliefs and customs and the holiday came to be celebrated as we know it today. The belief behind Day of the Dead practices is that spirits return to the world of the living for one day of the year to be with their families. It is said that the spirits of babies and children who have died (called angelitos, little angels ) arrive on October 31st at midnight, spend an entire day with their families and then leave. Adults come the following day. LearnPmore about the. The spirits are greeted with offerings of and things that they enjoyed when they were alive. These are laid out on anP in the family home. It is believed that the spirits consume the essence and the aroma of the foods that are offered. When the spirits depart, the living consumes the food and share it with their family, friends, and neighbors.
P Other items that are placed on the altar include, often with the person s name inscribed on the top, pan de Muertos, a special bread that is made especially for the season, and cempasuchil (marigolds) which bloom at this time of year and lend a special fragrance to the altar. See Da de los Muertos altars. In ancient times, people were buried close to their family homes and there was no need to have separate grave decorations and home altars, these were together in one place. Now that the dead are buried away from their homes, with the idea that the dead return there first. In some villages, flower petals are laid in paths from the cemetery to the home so that the spirits will be able to find their way. In some communities, it is customary to spend the whole night in the cemetery, and people make a party of it, having a picnic supper, playing music, talking and drinking through the night. Da de los Muertos and Halloween have some common features, but they are distinct holidays. They both come from early cultures beliefs about death that later mixed with Christianity. They are both based on the idea that the spirits return at that time of year. Customs around Halloween seem to stem from the idea that the spirits were malevolent (children were disguised so that they wouldn t be harmed), whereas in Day of the Dead festivities, the spirits are joyfully welcomed as family members that one hasn t seen in a year.
Da de los Muertos continues to change, and a mixing of cultures and customs continues to occur. Halloween festivities are becoming more prevalent in Mexico: masks and costumes are sold in the markets alongside sugar skulls and pan de Muertos, costume contests are held along with altar contests in schools, and some children dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating ( pedir Muertos ). This holiday is an excellent time to visit Mexico. Not only will you be able to witness these special celebrations, but you can also enjoy other advantages of. Although families celebrate this holiday privately, there are many public displays that you can enjoy, and if you act respectfully, no one will mind your presence in the cemeteries and other public spaces where Mexicans celebrate and honor their deceased. Day of the Dead is celebrated in different ways in different locations throughout Mexico. Festivities tend to be more colorful in the southern region, particularly in the states of Michoacan, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. In rural areas, celebrations are mostly solemn whereas in bigger cities they are sometimes irreverent. There are a few destinations that are well-known for their Da de los Muertos observances. See our list of the best. If you can t make it to Mexico, you can still celebrate the holiday by Pto honor your loved ones who have passed on.