The day of the dead.
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This holiday is a very special old Indo-Hispanic custom which takes place on November first and second in relation to the Catholic holiday of "All saints Day" on the first, and "All soul's Day" on the second, with the purpose of demostrates a very strong sense of love and respect for one's ancestor, this historical event is considered also from a point of sense of humor and happiness, which celebrates the continuance of life, of those who have died according to this very old traditional belief. This custom is celebrated in México some parts of US. and in several coutries of Latinoamerica.
More than 500 years ago when the Spaniards landed in what is now México they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death.
Today this ritual is still celebrated in a very particular way in little towns around ´the country, such as Mixquic in México state, and Janitzio and Pátzcuaro in Michoacán state, between others places in México.
Unlike the Spaniards who viewed death as the end of life, natives viewed it as the continuation of life. So that, instead of fearing death they embraced it. To them life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake. However, the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious and considering natives were sort of barbaric and pagan, in their attempts to convert them to Catholicism they tried to killed the ritual but like the old Aztec spirits, the ritual refused to die.
Consequently to make it more Christian the Spaniards moved it, so it coincided with "All saints Day" and "All soul's Day" when is the time we celebrate it today. Previously it fell on the ninth month of the Aztec solar calender approximately the beggining of August and was celebrated for the entire month.
Therefore, this holiday has a special meaning in México, and it is still very traditional and famous, basically in little towns where the customs are still very important and focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember all the love ones who are died.
The belief that died people come to visit this world is encouraging by the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them, this way the celebration take a humorous tone, remembering funny events, about the departed.
The traditions are made of building private altars at the cemetery graves or even at the entrance of homes as a welcoming gesture left put honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, and putting the favorite food so that is very common to see a special baked bread called "pan de muerto" or bread of dead and beverages of the departed, such a traditional Mexican sweet hot corn beverage called "atole" also personal belongins of the dead person that were enjoyed in life, including a picture setting as the principal object of the offering surrounded by lot of orange marigolds flowers called "Cempasúchitl" or "flor de muerto" which means "flower of dead" in the belief of attract souls of the dead to the offerings and lot of lighted candles, all these things are seen a gift to the dead people.
All this mystical celebration is something attracting lot of people from México and of course from other countries every year to admire a very old tradition that most of Mexican keep very fresh yet in our days.