Sunday, November 2, 2008

Día de los Muertos

OK I have to admit I took yesterday off when really I had no business doing so, not with November 1st being the Day of the innocents, the first day of the Mexican celebration. Día de los Inocentes (also known as Día de los Angelitos, Day of the Little Angels) celebrates those whom have died in childhood. Today November 2nd is properly Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead) where the lives of those whom have died in adulthood are celebrated.

Just as our more familliar Halloween celebrations mark the belief that the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its weakest, the Día de los Muertos celebrations mark the similar belief that it is easier for the spirits of the deceased to visit the living during this time. Family members tend the graves of their deceased relatives presenting offerings gold marigolds (cempasúchitl) and either toys and candy for the deceased children or alcoholic beverage for the adults to intice their spirits to return. Memorial altars abundant with photographs, personal articles, favourite foods, candied pumpkin, and sugar skulls are commonplace, both in cemetaries and private homes.

The image most often used with this celebration is that of the skull. Often decorated and colorful, it appears as masks and makeup, figurines such as Catrinas, decorations and candies and treats. The origin here is likely in connection with early indiginous peoples where human skulls were kept and used as trophies and decorations during rituals and celebrations as symbols of life and death.

As is obvious this is not a subdued mournful occasion, but rather one of great exhuberence and joy.

Hay más tiempo que vida
Gary D. Macabre

Here is a link to a very nice site about the Day of the Dead: Day of the Dead in Mexico

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