Day of the Dead
October 31, 2016
In Mexico, it’s important for people to keep old traditions and cultural beliefs alive. On November 1-2 of the year, Mexicans will gather together with friends and family to pay homage and remember their loved ones who are no longer alive.
“Dia de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is a tradition that is celebrated by many pre-Hispanic cultures before the Spanish conquest and has become a symbolism of identity for many. There is a strong belief that it is very important to keep the connection open between people who are living and the ones who have passed away.
Foreigners who have experienced Dia de Los Muertos have shown interest around the concept and this unique celebration. Mexicans are glad to share their culture and vibrant beliefs with others.
The first thing to know about this tradition is what an “Ofrenda” is. An Ofrenda is a ceremony paying tribute to all the beloved family members who have passed away. Each Ofrenda presents offerings to the deceased that were enjoyed when they were alive; such as food, drinks or personal belongings. One of the attributes of an Ofrenda is to include flowers, or sawdust, representing a path which guides the non-living to the offering. Candles are used to represent lighting the path and guide them to the offerings. A portrait of the deceased and burning incense are common parts of the tribute for the living to remember the dead.
Some elements of the ceremony that are important include “Pan de Muerto” (bread), Cempasuchil (special flower) and “Calaveritas” (sugar skull). Additionally, it’s also important, to build steps during the ceremony in a pyramid shape, with five to seven steps. This pathway is a representation of guiding the deceased to heaven.
Now that you know some basic information about the Day of the Dead tradition you can join thousands of people this November and encourage others to experience Dia de los Muertas.