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The celebration of death

“Death does not exist, people only die when you forget them; if you can remember me, I will always be with you” -Isabel Allende

  
Ciudad de Oaxaca, por @hernanstudio

In order to honor one of the most important traditions of Mexican culture, today we will talk about the day that celebrates death and remembers those who are no longer living among us. We will share the most important details of the Day or the Dead and we will also talk about the importance of preserving and continuing with this beautiful tradition.

Within Mexican culture the cult of death has always been present. Since prehistoric times death existed as a deity or as a key element within rituals, it was seen as part of the life cycle and represented a symbol of life and fertility. Over the years this has changed and evolved to the traditions that we currently know.

Celebración del día de muertos, por @hernanstudio

Nowadays, the tradition consists in decorating altars of deceased loved ones at Mexican houses, shops, schools and streets. The altars have different sizes and colors and are decorated with memories, hobbies or favorite plates of the deceased ones to honor them. According to this myth, on November 1 and 2, they come from beyond to greet their families and enjoy the offerings that have been left to them.

 
Visitas de seres queridos al panteón, Pátzuaro @candorhome

Some characteristic elements of the altars are:

The colored shredded paper: It is generally used in purple, pink and orange colors that symbolize the union of life and death.

Personal objects of the deceased and photographs: They are used as a form of tribute, to remember their life.

Food and drink: The traditional or favorite food of the deceased is placed in the altar so that their souls can enjoy it.

Pan de Muerto: It is a representation of the Eucharist that was added by the Spanish evangelizers.. Mexican families often use this bakery product for their altars and to enjoy it in family, usually accompanied by coffee or hot chocolate. Although originally it was characterized by its orange flavor, currently you can find it in more flavors, different shapes, sizes and fillings.

Calaveritas dulces o alfeñiques, Irapuato @somossuceso

 

Sweet skulls: Sugar, amaranth or chocolate skulls are used on altars or given to other people as a gift as a reminder that the only thing we have certain in this life is death.

Glass of water: Water is quite important since it reflects the purity of the soul, the continuous heaven, regeneration of life and sows. It is represented with a glass full of water that serves so that the spirit quenches its thirst after the trip from the world of the dead.

White candles: Symbol of love that serves as a guide for the souls of the deceased to reach the altar.

Marigold flowers: The marigold flower is a symbol of the radiance of the sun, which was considered the origin of everything. Thanks to its color and aroma, it is one of the most representative elements of the offerings for the dead. It serves as a guide to souls to indicate the direction by which to reach their former home. Each flower represents a life, and in the case of the deceased it means that he/she still has a place within the Whole, and that it has not been forgotten by his friends and family.

Flores de Cempasúchil, por @hernanstudio

As you can see, the Day of the Dead is a very special celebration in which families gather to honor their loved ones and welcome souls. For Mexicans, as for the rest of the world, death is uncertain, and this beautiful tradition helps to reconnect with the ancestors and remember how fast and fleeting life is. We hope you liked this new blog entry and that has helped you to learn more about this Mexican celebration. 

We wish you all a happy Day of the Dead.

We will see in the next blog post, greetings!

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