Sunday, November 2, 2014

MEXICO: DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATIONS 2014








WELCOME TO DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATIONS IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, MEXICO!  
             


Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a holiday observed throughout Mexico, but also in many other cultures around the world. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. 


Dia de los Muertos honors the dead with festivals and lively celebrations, a typically Latin American custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism which was brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores. In most regions of Mexico November 1 is the day to honor deceased children and infants whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents"),but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead"). 















The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to pre-Colombian times. More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now central Mexico, they encountered the native population practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. A ritual known today as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. 




















In the pre-Hispanic era skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the "Lady of the Dead", corresponding to the modern Catrina. Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual such as the use of skulls. 















Today people don wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls also are placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. Sugar skulls are made with the names of the dead person on the forehead, The Day of the Dead is a time for the dead to return home and visit loved ones, feast on their favorite foods and listen to their favorite music. In the homes, family members honor their deceased with ofrendas or offerings which may consist of photographs, bread, other foods, flowers, toys and other symbolic offerings. 














Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos the dead are also a part of the community awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones. 



















The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday. They appear in different forms including candied sweets, parade masks, and as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life and often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations. The Dia de los Muertos celebrations are filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations. 






People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and to build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls in order that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. 








What a wonderful way to celebrate the lives of our dearly departed ones! I hope you can visit Mexico during the annual Dia de los Muertos celebrations and get caught up in the spirit and magic of the festivities! The photographs for this posting were taken over three sequential years in San Miguel de Allende during their Dia de los Muertos celebrations  I hope you enjoy. 







I remember  hearing many, many years ago  that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I am a believer so following is the link to my WEB ALBUM which has additional photos for this posting. And if that is not enough, I have also included below the SLIDE SHOW of the web album for your immediate enjoyment.  


BLOG: MEXICO AND DAY OF THE DAY CELEBRATIONS

YOU MAY ALSO GO TO THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE SPECIAL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS ART WORK OF PATRICK MURILLO.


Copyright Patrick Murillo




                                               
 Copyright Patrick Murillo  
Copyright Patrick Murillo





















Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, suggestions, or questions. I may be contacted directly by email or by posting a comment on this blog page. Until next time, saludos and gracias, Laura  


     Memories are just a click away!