Most of us have heard about the “Day of the Dead”. It is an annual event celebrated in Mexico and also to some surrounding states. In this event people get set themselves in the form of death.
It is celebrated in the memory and respect of deceased people. People used to remember their deceased family members in a number of ways but this is an amazing Mexican Festival.
People wear different costumes and put on makeup for entertainment. They sing and dance and have offerings to their lost loved ones.
Theme of the Day of the Death
The main theme of this event is “death” and people used to pick up the getups of dead bodies. There are numerous shows and segments related to their theme. Most of the people choose similar getups in order to maintain the theme of death.
In November 1,2014, there were over 500 women gathered in Mexico City. They were to set a Guinness World record for the largest gathering of women dressed as Catrina.
People choose strange themes and setups for their celebration. It is widely accepted as a Mexican ritual and custom. It is different from the theme of Halloween. Halloween is a dark night of horror and mischief while the day of death is for two days with lots of color and memories in the day.
History behind the Day of the Dead
The event of the Day of the Dead originated thousands of years ago. This is the belief of Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people. They believe that when a person dies none of his/her family members do sorrow and grief on it. These people assumed it was disrespectful to consider mourning on the deceased people.
For them, death was a natural step in life’s long journey. They suppose the dead as members of the community, and are alive in spirit and soul.
People call this day “Dia de los Muertos”. It is interesting to know that Today’s Dia de los Muertos is celebrated as a mashup of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Christian feasts. It is celebrated on November 1 and 2, The All Saints’ day and All Souls day in the time of fall maize harvesting season.
Also read: Why it is important to know about Past?
Altars: The Centerpiece of The Event
Altars are the places where the day of the dead is celebrated. These are set in the private homes and cemeteries. These are built in the concept that spirits would return to the realm of life.
Altars are decorated with wonderful offerings to the dead one. For example if the dead one is a child then you must place small toys on the altar.
Other things include water and other drinks to quench thirst after the long journey. People choose to place food, family photos and the candles on the altars for their dead relatives.
Altars are decorated with flowers, especially the Marigolds flowers. The petals of flowers are lying alongside the grave to the altars.
Pan De Muerto or Food of the Dead
According to the tradition of Mexico, families choose to place their favourite meal on the altars of their deceased family members. Pan De Muerto or food of the dead is like sweet bread. This is to be decorated with bones and a skull. These are also made up of bread dough.
The bones are arranged in a circle, and the skull is made of sugar art. This is brought in by the tradition of sugar art in the 17th century from Italians.
There is also a drink for the dead ones. Drink is known as Pulque. It is a sweet beverage made of unrefined cane sugar, corn flour, cinnamon and chocolate. The food is decorated with colourful combinations to please the dead ones and to welcome them to the colorful realms of living.
Q: what does the sugar in sugar skull represents?