Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)
The Mexican Day of the Dead known as Día de los Muertos is a two-day holiday celebrated from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November to honour and reunite the living and dead together. It is a reunion where the spirits of children join on October the 31st and the spirits of adults join on November the 2nd.
The ritual originates from the Aztec and Nahua people who saw death as an eternal part of life. The Nahua rituals were held in August where food and water were to aid the deceased in the journey to the Land of the Dead and therefore contributed to the traditions of today.
It is a very colourful celebration and altars are decorated with marigolds, and photos of their loved ones, and food and drinks are consumed. The Marigolds are golden pathways to guide and attract the spirits. Families gather either at home or in the cemeteries at night to light candles and play music. There is no crying or grieving but to enjoy and appreciate all human associations and comforts on a spiritual journey.
Printmaker and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada used the skeletal figures to mock politicians. La Calavera Catrina is the most iconic work that features a female skeleton in ornate clothing. Sugar skulls known as Calaveras are decorative skulls made from sugar or clay to symbolise that death is not all that bad. They are often embellished with jewels and face painting. In contemporary Day of the Dead, skulls masks are worn, and treats are consumed. Pan de Muerto is a simple sweet bread that is consumed all year round!
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