Day of the Dead 2018: Origin and KEY Facts About Mexican Biggest Holiday

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Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is one of the brightest and most distinctive holidays of Mexico. Read about the origin of this holiday and its traditions on Nexter.org.

Source: Getty

Origin of the holiday

The origin of Day of the Dead roots back to the pagan beliefs of the indigenous peoples of the country. For example, in the life of the Aztecs and Maya, the cult of Death and rituals dedicated to the veneration of deceased ancestors held a special place.

These traditions were so strong that they not only continued after the Spanish conquistadors and the Catholic Church came to the American continent but also organically integrated into the modern life of the people.

UNESCO approved

In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, giving it a special status and including in the list of best cultural heritage.

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Source: Giphy

When it’s celebrated

The Day of the Dead is celebrated three days in a row, on October 31st, November 1st, and 2nd. These dates coincide with three important Christian holidays:  All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. Because of that, the holiday acquired the mysticism and the attributes of paganism mixed with the symbols of Catholicism.

Additional colors for the Day of the Dead are given by another holiday – (October 31).

How it’s different from

Despite the similarity of the holidays, they are significantly different from each other. is more of a dramatical holiday that aims to tickle the nerves with the help of fear and dark creatures.

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On the opposite, the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead is a time to remember dead relatives and family traditions, as well as a great occasion to laugh at Death and actively enjoy Life.

How to prepare for Day of the Dead

Turning the Day of the Dead into a real “Feast of Life” is very Mexican. To do this, you need to carefully prepare, and not just clean and decorate the house, but to make a special altar.

The main part of the altar is photos of deceased family members and close friends. Also, make sure you did not forget someone, prepare a treat for everyone (your favorite dishes and drinks), and decorate the rest of the space with flowers, lighted candles, perforated paper with satirical scenes about Death.

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Source: Getty

Additionally, it is important to put ritual sweets in the form of brightly colored skulls and special bread for the dead.

Beliefs

The cooler the altar and the more treats and favorite objects of late relatives on it – the greater the probability that they will come on the Day of the Dead to talk with you.

People honor dead children and infants on November 1, and honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).

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Source: Getty

The best way for the living family members to remind about themselves to their ancestors is to go to the cemetery, decorate the grave, bring food. Strong drinks are not forbidden.


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Day of the Dead 2018: Origin and KEY Facts About Mexican Biggest Holiday
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Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is one of the brightest and most distinctive holidays of Mexico. Read about the origin of this holiday and its traditions on Nexter.org.
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