Day of the Dead is the most representative tradition in Mexico. In 2003 UNESCO declared this festivity as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It takes place on November 1st, day dedicated to children’s souls, and November 2nd, dedicated to adults’ souls.
The origins of this festivity in Mexico come from way back, before the arrival of the Spaniards, when it was frequent, among several prehispanic villages, to have rituals that symbolized death and rebirth.
There are six important aspects to this celebration that is so rooted in the Mexican cultural tradition as the Day of the Dead.
- Welcome offerings, this day the dead are welcomed with their favorite food and drinks, fruit, and toys for the children.
- Candles, which are placed on top of the tombs as a way to light the path for the souls on their way back home.
- The “calaveras”, which are a key feature of this celebration; they are candy, made of cane sugar and decorated in different colors. But there are also literary “calaveras”, they are poetry with several rhymed verses that, in an ironic way, tell about popular and unpopular characters using themes related to death, with a humorous intention.
- The Catrina, a “calavera” that was made popular by the cartoonist José Guadalupe Posadas, that is dressed as a high society woman, showing us that death affects everyone.
- The “pan de muerto’ (bread of the dead), covered with white or red sugar and with bread strips simulating bones on the top.
- The “cempasúchil” (marigold) flowers; they are used in the offerings of the Day of the Dead because of their yellow color, the color of death in prehispanic Mexico, due to the belief that it lightens the path for the dead’s souls. Even though, it is also said that they are used because the smell can guide them to visit their loved ones that day.
The altars of the Day of the Dead are the greatest representation of this Mexican festivity. they are made as offerings, and to remember the souls of our beloved ones.
This year, in Puerto Morelos, there will be a Mega offering for the Day of the Dead, an initiative by Cuadra Una Tradición, that calls all neighbors that would like participate with their offerings; this will take place on Saturday, November 2nd, in the front patio of each participating neighbor.