"Day of the Dead" celebrated in the United States

Mexican tradition transcends borders

According to Martinez Amador, "with the arrival of the apostolic Roman Catholicism to Mexico it generated another process of syncretism, which also adopted the death cult of the Aztec civilization. As part of the identity of Mexico, it worships not life but death, a reality which not only coexists but also turns out to be something normal in everyday life that even is made fun of it. "

On this date, both in rural and in urban neighborhoods all souls are received and dismissed with music, dishes and a mixture of joy and sadness.

In Mexico there a lot of offerings and altars that rise, and being that Pátzcuaro has around 80,000 Inhabitants, it is one of the most picturesque destinations, that is located on the banks of the lake of the same name, and which state is located 356 kilometers from Mexico City and 53 kilometers from the city of Morelia, which is that state's capital.

In Patzcuaro, the usual altars would be decorated with care with photos of the deceased and their favorite food, music and favorite beverages to put, with the belief that their spirits will enjoy a cheerful and nostalgic evening.

The cemeteries are filled with families, who spend all night beside the graves of their loved ones, and this image of an amazing night is astounding and beautiful, with hundreds of candles and flowers of cempaxúchitl (orange flower of the dead) that decorate around the tombstones.


The symbolism of this event is huge, where the traditional "bread of the dead" is not lacking in any home and can be baked in various ways; although the shape of a skull is the most common one, all the breads are also sprinkled with sugar.

There are skull head candies that are very colorful, which also are bearing the inscribed name of the deceased.

There's no shortage of flowers that decorate tombs that have been generously cleaned by relatives, which crowns made out of Cempaxúchitl flowers are placed on them.

It is believed that the souls of the little ones are back into this world on November 1st, and the adults on November 2nd. For the deceased adults an altar is built, and the offerings include the dish he or she liked, which can be bread of the dead, mezcal, tequila, pulque or atole, cigarettes, the portrait of the person that is gone and dozens of candles.

Sometimes families have a painting of the souls in purgatory state, and the intention of this is to ask the deceased to get out of there in the event that they stuck there. The twelve candles on the other hand, if they are purple they signify mourning.

"La Cruz de Tierra" (dirt cross) is placed to remember the saying, "you are dust and to dust you shall return." The confetti shaped skeleton and skull is used to decorate the pumpkin blemish (a fruit) that is placed on the altar cooked with sugar, cinnamon and hawthorn.

The Day of the Dead is without a doubt a popular folk expression that fits well with the ancient practices that assumed that living and dead were still connected. Professor Martinez Amador believes that "it's a culture with necrophilia (in the original sense of the word) because it has 'friendship' with death, and shows an inverted hierarchy of values that ideally should sanctify life."


Translation : Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com


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