Many colors mark the Day of the Dead in Mexico, as a way of honoring the memory of those who have passed away from this world. According to tradition, on November 1st and 2nd, loved ones return to celebrate and eat with their family and friends.
The celebrations start days before. October 28th is dedicated to those who died tragically or were victims of acts of violence. On the 30th and 31st, infants who were not baptized are remembered.
November 1st is All Saints’ Day according to Catholic tradition and, on this day, Mexicans pay tribute to deceased children. And November 2nd, which is the Day of the Dead or Day of the Faithful Departed, is about remembering those who died as adults.
The festivities date back to the pre-colonial period in which native people performed rituals for their ancestors with food, flowers and dances. Furthermore, the end of October and beginning of November coincide with the corn harvest, which is so present in Mexican cuisine.
Since 2003, these Mexican festivities have been considered Intangible Heritage of Humanity. And there are some variations depending on the region where Day of the Dead is celebrated. However, some items are usually present on the altar of the dead.
A photo of the loved one is placed under the altar along with candles that represent the light that guides souls. A glass of water is offered to quench the thirst of those returning. So that the spirit does not become corrupt among the living, salt is used. Flowers such as marigolds that attract souls to the offerings cannot be missing either. And also the bread of the dead, which represents the cycle of life. Other elements such as fruit and the deceased’s favorite foods are also served.
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