The Day of the Dead is one of the most important festivities in Mexico, so much so that it is considered Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Throughout the first two days of November, homage is paid to the faithful departed in a colorful atmosphere, full of colors and flavors with pre-Hispanic origins.
In this blog we present some facts about the Day of the Dead. Learn more about Mexican culture.
The Day of the Dead has its origins in Mesoamerican cultures, which worshipped death. Specifically, the Mexica culture believed that the gods Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlantecihuatl, lords of the Mictlan (the underworld), were in charge of guiding the souls during their journey to eternal rest.
The deceased was prepared differently, as he was wrapped in a mat and buried. Afterward, a feast was organized in celebration of his new life and a small offering of food was left so that he could be well-fed before his journey to the Mictlan.
With the arrival of the Spaniards and the imposition of the Catholic religion in Mexico, the Day of the Dead was born as a fusion between Catholic beliefs about life and death and the customs that already existed in pre-Hispanic cultures.
In Mexican culture, it is believed that the Day of the Dead is a specific time of the year when the souls return to the world of the living to spend time with their relatives and enjoy the things they enjoyed in life.
How is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico?
The Day of the Dead is a very big national holiday and it has different ways of being celebrated. It all depends on the city, the customs, and the traditions of each family.
Traditionally, Mexicans visit the cemeteries between October 31 and November 2. They clean the graves of their loved ones, decorate them with shredded paper, some photographs, and marigold flowers and place a small offering with their favorite food, and some fruit. Afterward, a picnic is held at the cemetery where families gather to spend time with their family members once again and share with other families who also attend, thus making the magic of this tradition even stronger.
It is also customary that in homes, squares, public centers, schools, and others, decorations allusive to this festivity and the traditional altar of the dead are placed. In which historical characters, relatives, collaborators, and all those who have passed away are remembered.
When is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico?
Officially the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. It is divided into two categories to commemorate our deceased.
According to the Catholic calendar, November 1st is known as “All Saints’ Day”, in which the deceased children and unbaptized infants are honored and celebrated.
On the other hand, November 2nd is known as the “Day of the Faithful Departed”, commemorating the adult souls that have not yet been able to reach eternal rest. Their souls descend to the world of the living and visit us for a few hours while they travel their way to paradise.
Day of the Dead Parade.
For several years Mexico City has hosted the largest Day of the Dead parade. This takes place at the end of October and the beginning of November and through floats, dance performances, actors, and actresses characterized as catrines and catrinas, they go through various parts of the city while presenting a story on the occasion of the Day of the Dead.
This year, the parade will take place on October 29th starting at 5:00 pm, and will begin at the Puerta de Los Leones in Chapultepec. This year’s legend is titled “Mexico: The Navel of the Moon”, it will consist of 8 chapters and will be about Luna, a descendant of the god Quetzalcoatl, the one responsible for opening the portal to the world of the dead. Closing in the Zócalo of Mexico City.
Day of the Dead in Popular Culture.
Due to the great influence of this festivity, over the years the Day of the Dead has been a point of reference in various series, films, and books that capture it, celebrate it ,and have helped to open it up to the public.
Some of the most popular works that have undoubtedly transcended popular culture are the films: “Macario” from 1959, starring the first Mexican actor Ignacio Lopez Tarso, “007: Spectre” from 2015, starring Daniel Craig whose beginning takes place during the Day of the Dead parade, and of course the animated films “The Book of Life” and “Coco”, films completely based on this holiday, which explain in detail the Day of the Dead and pay tribute to Mexican culture.
Find everything you need for your altar of the dead at Los Cinco Soles.
Celebrate the Day of the Dead from anywhere in the world with Los Cinco Soles! Without a doubt, something that fills us with pride as Mexicans is knowing that our culture can cross barriers and be shared with the whole world.
In our stores you can find everything from typical candies, sauces, Mexican ornaments, toys, and many other items to start celebrating this beautiful tradition. Learn more at Los Cinco Soles.