Welcome to Mexico and Beyond: Laura's Photo Journey and my annual visit to the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) celebrations of 2017 in Mexico. Without a doubt, this annual tradition is one I especially look forward to and I never tire of it's colorful pageantry. I have created a new photograph album for this posting which includes photos from San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Mexico City.
And for those of you who love the tradition and imagery as much as I do I have also included the links to my three previous Day of Dead posts for 2014, 2015, and 2016 which you will find at the end of this posting. It's as simple as clicking on the links to revisit my previous posts which will also give you more background information on this very special and traditional national holiday.
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a celebration of life which honors friends and family who have died. It's not a gloomy or morbid occasion. Rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there, in the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make elaborately decorated altars (called ofrendas) in their homes to welcome the spirits.
One of the most important aspects of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico is an altar or shrine which is called an ofrenda. The term "ofrenda" translates from Spanish to "offerings" or "gifts" in English. Ofrendas are small altars or shrines in remembrance of deceased loved ones which are decorated with photographs, keepsakes, and favorite foods and libations of the deceased. It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living during the celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Local families will plan for Day of the Dead celebrations days, weeks, or even a whole year in advance. A focal point of the remembrance ritual is families creating ofrendas which are altars with offerings to the deceased. They may be set up in homes, or public spaces like parks or plazas, and also at local cemeteries where family members are buried. These colorful altars are a personal expression of love towards one’s family members now deceased and are not for worshiping, but instead for the purpose of remembrance and celebration of a life lived.
It is believed that marigold flowers guide the deceased spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent. The marigold most commonly used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations is the African Marigold which is otherwise known as the cempasúchil or Flower of the Dead.
I believe that music can soothe the soul whether in the here and now or for the departed. And what could be more lovely than serenading departed ones in the cemetery.
If you ever visit Mexico during the Day of Dead celebrations (October 31st through November 2nd) be prepared for a special and wonderful experience. In the meantime, please enjoy my most recent photograph album for this blog postings at the following link:
MEXICO AND BEYOND: DAY OF THE DEAD ALTARS 2017
The following links will also take you to my previously published Day of the Dead blog postings. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to seeing you again in the near future! Laura