The realm of humans goes together with the realm of spirits. There is life after death. Souls wander around in our world along with us. Does that sound scary? No? There is a festival in Mexico that not only is the public holiday but an important part of the culture of Mexico. The day is known as ‘The Day of the Dead’ Or ‘Día de Muertos’ in Spanish. Does that sound interesting? Let us put some facts about this Mexican Holiday in the picture:
1. Halloween And The Day Of The Dead
The Day of the Dead and Halloween, might have similarities in respect of relation with the souls; in reality, they are different. While Halloween is celebrated on October 31; The Day of the Dead falls on November 2.
2. Bigger Than Christmas Eve
In Mexico, the day of the dead is the biggest religious holiday, even more, significant than Christmas. There are massive public events and parades. People also spend a fortune on decorations and food.
Source: dailystar.co.uk, Image: Flickr
3. It Is Way Too Old
The rituals celebrating Day of the Dead have been observed for as long as about 2,500- 3,000 years.
Source: Wikipedia, GIF: Gfycat
4. The Changes With The Time
Initially, The Day of the Dead fell in with the ninth month of Aztec Calendar, that goes on about in August. The date was set in to coincide with the Triduum: All Saints Eve, All Saint’s day, and All Souls Day; associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 respectively.
5. It’s Not Just About A day
The day of the dead starts on the eve of November 31. November 1 is celebrated as El Día de los Inocentes (the Day of the Innocents) or El Día de los Angelitos (the Day of the Little Angels), and November 2 is celebrated as Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) for adults.
6. An Integral Part Of Holiday
Cleaning is as an important part of the event. They clean graves and decorate them in preparation of the visitors (dead spirits).
Source: forbes.com, Image: Wikimedia
7. Did You Mean Clean The Bones?
There is a variation to every tradition or custom. In Pomuch, Campeche, there is a tradition of washing bones of the dead loved ones.
Source: HuffingtonPost, GIF: chzbgr.com
8. No Crying, It’s Day Of Celebration
The Day of Dead as it implies is not just the day of death but the celebration of life and death. They believe that their ancestors will not be happy to see them mourning for them. Instead, they dance, sing, and tell tales of their deceased loved ones.
9. Ofrendas To Show They Are Still Remembered
Ofrendas or offerings are prepared to pay tribute to their loved ones. The Ofrendas include orange and yellow marigolds (Cempazuchitl), copal incense, candles, pictures of the deceased, salt and water, traditional Day of the Dead foods and other things that might be specific to the individual (favorite things, toys, clothes, food, etc.).
Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikimedia
10. The Flower Of The Dead
Cempazuchitl (el flor del Muerto– the flower of the dead) is used in massive quantity on the Day of the Dead. It is said that these flowers represent the sun and rebirth. They are also believed to guide the spirits back home.
Source: deseretnews.com, Image: Pixabay
11. Sugar Skulls No Candies
Sugar Skulls or Calavera, are sugar candies decorated with icing to be fun and colorful. They even have feathers, glitter, gems, or other items attached to make them more specific to the deceased soul.
Source: cbc.ca, Image: Flickr
12. Bread Of The Dead
Bread of the dead is a typical sweet bread, often featuring anise seeds and orange peels. They are often decorated with bones and skulls, arranged in a circle as in the circle of life.
Source: nationalgeographic.com, Image: Flickr
13. Butterflies That Carries Souls
Monarch butterflies are long believed to be the returning spirits of the deceased relatives, which mysteriously appears at the same time of the year coinciding with Day of the Dead. Aztec traditions believe that the dead spirits will once return in the form of hummingbirds or butterflies.
Source: christiannews.net, Image: Flickr
14. The Famous Skeleton Of All Times
‘La Catrina’ is the epicenter of the festival of all the things. It is famous all around the world. It was the creation of José Guadalupe Posada circa 1910. Since then, she has become the most important figure in the Day of the Dead.
Source: theyucatantimes.com, Image: Wikimedia
15. Spending Night At The Sight Of Deceased
Spending the night by the Cemetery, inside the graveyard, or picnicking there, is considered to be a part of the celebration.
Source: deseretnews.com, Image: Flickr
16. Recognized By UNESCO
The Day of the Dead is in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, inscribed in 2008; originally proclaimed in 2003.
17. Even Hollywood Is Obsessed With The Day
The fun and colors of the Day of the Dead have been portrayed in the movies like ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘Corpse’s Bride.’ It has featured in prominent movies like ‘The Book of Life’ and ‘Spectre,’ not to forget Pixar’s ‘CoCo.’ The festival has its influence over the American Film Industry as well.
18. Dog That Leads Spirits Home
‘Xoloitzcuintli’ comes from two words in Aztecs language: Xolotl, God of Lightning and Dead and Itzcuintli, or dog. The dog is often used in the depictions in Day of the Dead; as it is said that it leads the spirits back home.
Source: nationalgeographic.com, Image: Flickr
19. Paper Work, That’s Beauty
You will find Papel Picado massively everywhere in Day of the Dead. Papel Picado is a delicately decorated tissue paper that represents the winds and fragility of life.
Source: npr.org, Image: Flickr
20. Doomed If Not Celebrate It
It’s a myth about the festival that if you fail to celebrate it, you will face the harsh consequences. According to tradition, if the dead find that their family has been unable to present them with suitable Ofrendas, they might sometimes take revenge, you might have to repent through sickness or even death.