Published on May 27th, 2012 | by admin0
Day of the Dead Traditions
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It is a traditional practice to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is one of the indigenous practices embraced by very many people. The tradition is about celebrating the deaths of their ancestors and it has been taking place for as long as more than 2500 years. One of the major events on the traditional day is displaying the skulls that were collected and preserved during the old era. These skulls form very important assets for the ritual as they are used to indicate death as well as rebirth. The celebration that became the new day of the dead, with respect to Aztec calendar, happened to fall within the ninth month. This is around the onset of August and festivities were then held for the whole month. The festivities were held in dedication to the goddess that was also referred to as Lady of the Dead, in correspondence to the new and present Catrina.
On the traditional day, each and every person who associates with this belief is required to move to the cemeteries so as to be with the souls and spirits that already departed. They are also required to set up some special private alters at the cemeteries and in them place commonly favorite drinks and foods. The memorabilia and photos of the departed are also brought and placed together with foods. The intentions for all these are to encourage visitations by the souls and also so that all prayers and comments said and made by the living people can be heard by these souls. Celebrations are carried on with humor as the celebrants recall some funny events that are associated with those that departed. Plans and arrangements for this special day are made throughout the whole year whereby foods and drinks that will be offered to the dead are also gathered in advance. During this period of three days, various families normally clean up the graves as well as decorating them. Decorations at the cemetery where the loved ones were buried are made using special offerings such as orange marigolds of the Mexicans. Marigold is a traditional flower of the Mexicans (ofrendas) which is used as a symbol of honour to the dead. Its main role is to attract the spirits souls of the departed ones to the offerings.
During this occasion, toys are also made available for the children who died because they are believed to be little angels. Bottles containing pulque or tequila and jars containing atole are also brought for dead adults. During this ritual also, the ofrendas are placed and just left in the homes so as to welcome the spirits and souls of the deceased. It is believed by some people that the ofrendas’ spiritual essence is eaten as food by the spirits. Beddings such as blankets and pillows are also left out to be used by the deceased for resting after a long journey. In some regions of Mexico some people decide to spend the whole night beside the graves of their departed loved ones. All levels of public schools are required to build alters and put ofrendas in them whereby they also omit religious symbols. Each of the government offices usually has a small alter symbolizing the significance of this holiday to the heritage of Mexico.