Meaning of Day of the Dead

What is Day of the Dead:

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican popular celebration to honor the deceased. takes place on the day November 2although it begins to celebrate from the first day.

little skulls

Its origin dates back to the mesoamerican cultures who inhabited the Mexican territory before the arrival of the Spanish, such as the Mexica, Maya, Mixtec, Texcocana, Zapotec, Tlaxcalteca and Totonac ethnic groups. Originally, according to the Mixtec calendar, it was celebrated during the ninth month of the solar year.

The survival of this tradition after the arrival of the colonizers and the evangelization process is explained in the syncretic fusion of the Mesoamerican tradition with the Catholic one. Hence, in the calendar it coincides with festivities of Christianity, such as the All Saints Daythe first of November, and the All Souls Dayon the 2nd of the same month.

The ritual is intended to honor and celebrate the lives of ancestors, of the beloved dead and of the exemplary dead. In this sense, they are given as gifts with all kinds of offerings and an altar is built in their memory inside the houses.

As such, the Day of the Dead is a day of recollection and prayer, but also a party. The memory and presence of the deceased relatives is celebratedthat that day they return home to be with their relatives and to be nourished by the offerings that have been dedicated to them.

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According to tradition, the first of November is dedicated to those who died as children and the 2nd to those who died in adulthood. Also on October 28, those who died as a result of an accident are received, while on the 30th of the same month it is the children who died without receiving baptism who arrive.

Currently, the festivity is considered by the Unesco What Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanityand is held by Mexicans as a symbol of their national identity.

This tradition can also be found in other Central American countries, as well as in some communities in the United States where there is a large Mexican population.

See also All Saints’ Day.

Day of the Dead and Halloween

The Halloweencontraction of English All Hallows Eve, which means ‘All Saints’ Eve’, also known as Halloween, is a holiday celebrated on October 31 in countries such as the United States, Canada, Ireland or the United Kingdom, and whose origin is Celtic. Some traditional activities on this day are costume parties, visiting haunted houses, and watching movies or reading horror stories. As such, it differs greatly from the celebration of the Day of the Deadbut it has been spreading due to the strong cultural influence of countries like the United States.

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Day of the Dead Offerings

The Day of the Dead it is tradition to raise a domestic altar, also called altar of the dead, with offerings in homage to the dead. Food (the traditional bread of the dead), drinks, clothes, valuable objects, ornaments, skulls, flowers (marigold flower) and aromatic herbs are placed in it; With all this, what is intended is to receive and give gifts to the deceased as a sign of affection and remembrance.

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See also Altar of the Dead.