Día de Muertos: A 100% Mexican Tradition
The month of november is important for all the mexicans, this is because in the beginning of the month one of the most representative customs’ is celebrated: día de muertos “day of the dead”. The celebration takes place in November 1st and 2nd, the 1st is dedicated to the souls of the little ones and the 2nd to the grown-ups. This dates coincide with the catholic celebration of “all hallows eve” and, even this is a Mexican festivity, there are communities in the USA that also celebrate this holidays thanks to the great number of Mexican-Americans within them.
Many people haven’t heard about this festivity and when they listen the Word “death” it comes to their minds thoughts as sadness or loneliness. Nevertheless, even if it sounds a little odd, if there is something that this celebration lacks of is precisely that. In Mexico they are happy days, between laughs and thoughts that honor the departed, altars that make remember how important they were, are and will be those persons that are not with us anymore. The Mexicans do not feel any fear of any spirit or relate any kind of evil during this days, all the opposite, they celebrate this days in a very good mood, even they appear to have something in common with Halloween but keeping the mystic touch that the Mexican culture has.
One typical custom during this days is to visit the graveyards. The hour doesn’t matter, commonly, for being special days, the visit time is 24 hours. The families go to place flower arrangements and candles over each tomb, in order to show them that they are still present and at the same time to help the deceased souls to find the way back home. The altars are a fundamental element in this tradition, they have a great meaning because it is believed that with them the families are helping to their passed ones to have a good crossing from the other life. Many Mexican families spend hours making the altars. In spite of having a great variety of flowers, the cempasúchil is the favorite to decorate.
They add photographs of the deceased, his favorite dish and beverage and to add joy and color “papel picado”. Because of the great diversity of elements that conform the altar and also the great time and effort that are required to build one, many of them are considered as artistic masterpieces.
The day of the dead is full of color, magic and traditions, it is the day that all the mexicans remember their deads and invite them to return with them to hang out in an armonic and party mood, as odd as this could sound. Like all good Mexican, this theme is taken with humour, and they celebrate the death as another stage of the life, they don’t see it as a tragedy; they eat, drink and celebrate as they expect their own death.