8 Things you need to know about the Day of the Dead
“A civilization the denies death ends by denying life.”- Octavio Paz.
Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration to remember our loved ones that have passed away. Mexico is the land of celebration, but the Day of the Dead is the highest and most important celebration of all.
The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico came from the ancient traditions among its pre-Columbian cultures. The Aztecs used to do rituals to celebrate the deaths of their ancestors, the ritual was dedicated to the goddess known as the “lady of the Dead”, nowadays known as “La Catrina”.
Here are 10 things you might not know about Día de Muertos.
- In Mexico the Day of the Dead is always celebrated on the same day, November 2nd during this day we remember the adult souls and on November 1st the souls of the children.
- In 2008 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, recognized the importance of Día de Muertos and added this holiday to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Day of the Dead is not Mexican Halloween. It is a day full of love, respect and remembrance for the loved ones that have passed away.
- The centrepiece of the Day of the Dead is the altar or “Ofrenda”. Most of the time set in people’s houses. They are decorated with cempasuchil flowers or marigold, candles to lighten up the way of the ancestors to come back to the world of the living and ornaments with things that the person that is being remembered used to love, like food, beverages, objects and pictures.
- In Mexico during this celebration, people write “Calaveras”, which are these short poems about a living person, but related to death. They are usually funny. They were created by Jose Clemente Orozco, who was a painter and caricaturist, his most famous work related to the Day of the Dead is the “La Catrina”. Here is one calavera or calaverita:
Oh, how clumsy was my neighbour
Who did try so very hard,
She was doing me a favour
When Death dealt her grievous card.
Yes, too clumsy was my neighbour,
But she tried so very hard
‘Till she met the First Engraver
(Left the car, of that I’m glad).
6. People visit the cemeteries and spend the day and sometimes the night there. The famous flower use that day is the cempasuchil flower, but people also bring candles, food and music.
7. Food is very important on this day, the most iconic dishes eaten on this day are Pan de Muerto, which is a sweet bread, featuring orange blossom and decorated with bones and skulls made from the same dough. Other popular dishes are mole, tamales, pozole, pumpkin empanadas.
8. On the Day of the Dead people gather and remember their loved ones that have passed away by celebrating and cooking a feast, usually are some dishes that, the person you are remembering used to like.
Here at Mextrade, we are going to be celebrating by eating a delicious Mole, we are sharing the recipe with you soon.
Feliz Día de Muertos