Remembering Loved Ones

| December 10, 2017

Filming in Mexico recently I saw images of smiling skeletons everywhere and I thought how spooky that was until I was told about The Day of the Dead. It was such an interesting way to view death and to honour the people we love who have passed on. Please excuse my ignorance, but I’m so glad I’ve learned.

Wikipedia: “The Day of the Dead (Spanish: Dia de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.[1]

It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christianity tritium of Allhallowtide: All Saints Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using calaveras, aztec marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.”

The Day has been compared to Halloween many times. The two annual events differ greatly in traditions and tone. Whereas Halloween is a dark night of terror and mischief, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of colour and life-affirming joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.

It is certainly a different way to think about the people you love. Don’t you think?

Hear more about Day of the Dead on The Dolor Factor on Thursday 14 December at 9am on Colourful Radio.

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Category: Culture & Society, Delia Dolor, Delia's Escapades

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