The day of the dead.

Morelia Travel Blog

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A night view from a square next to cathedral

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.

Big poster board showing public activities in this special day.
It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least for about 3,000 years. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess "Mictecacihuatl" known as "Lady of the Dead" related to the modern "catrina" newadays.

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.

A special decoration indoor of a colonial public building.

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.

Bread of the dead ready to try.
Another important tradition we can see today is to read about sarcastic or funny poems  made of about people still alive in a very creative ways. Nonetheless, in little towns this event is some a big deal, so they remember the belief of the spirits of the dead eat the "spiritual essence" of the offerings. This way in little towns people spend all night kneeling beside the graves of their relatives.

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.

Process of making this kind of bread.

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.   

 

rotorhead85 says:
I remember this in Bolivia - thanks for explaining. Nice blog!
Posted on: Dec 13, 2011
NickDeJesu says:
Great blog. Philippines and Italy also have "the day of the dead" on Nov 1.
Posted on: Oct 07, 2011
monky says:
Thank you Vipin actually there is lot more to write about the traditions in my side just about time and inspiration to bring more ideas and share it here:)
Posted on: Mar 19, 2011
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A night view from a square next to…
A night view from a square next t…
Big poster board showing public ac…
Big poster board showing public a…
A special decoration indoor of a c…
A special decoration indoor of a …
Bread of the dead ready to try.
Bread of the dead ready to try.
Process of making this kind of bre…
Process of making this kind of br…
making all the parts from each pie…
making all the parts from each pi…
Bread is ready for baking.
Bread is ready for baking.
The most common bread of the dead
The most common bread of the dead
Decoration made of bread.
Decoration made of bread.
A view from a garden showing a tra…
A view from a garden showing a tr…
Another view from special decorati…
Another view from special decorat…
Orange flowers are a very importan…
Orange flowers are a very importa…
Looking at the special decoration …
Looking at the special decoration…
Admiring the big altar in honor to…
Admiring the big altar in honor t…
Catrina
Catrina
Morelia
photo by: monky