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Monday, November 2, 2015

DAY OF THE DEAD


Today, November 2nd, is a public holiday throughout Mexico and in many other countries around the world.

It is a day chosen for people to honor the memories of their deceased relatives and friends.

It is traditional to build private altars, called ofrendas and to decorate graves with sugar skulls, marigolds and favorite foods and beverages of the departed.


Relatives bring their own food and drinks and music, often spending the night at the cemetery in a sort of melancholy picnic atmosphere.

These pictures were taken at the cemetery in Ajijic, a small village on the north shore of Lake Chapala where we first lived when we made our excursion to Mexico.


It was an interesting and somewhat macabre introduction to the native culture for us.

I have since read that the origins of the holiday date back thousands of years to indigenous peoples and an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess.

9 comments:

  1. It is on 1 November in Germany (yesterday).

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sure about that? November 1st is celebrated as a day for infants and children that have died. November 2nd for adults.

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  2. From Wikipedia.

    In Christian Europe, Roman Catholic customs absorbed pagan traditions, and All Saints Day and All Souls Day became the autumnal celebration of the dead. Over many centuries, rites were moved from cultivated fields to cemeteries.

    In many countries with a Roman Catholic heritage All Saints Day and All Souls Day have evolved traditions in which people take the day off work, go to cemeteries with candles and flowers, and give presents to children, usually sweets and toys

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I bow to Wikipedia! :^D

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  3. It does seem like a bizarre custom to picnic with the dead, but it's also fascinating and learning about different cultures is one of the reasons I enjoy traveling so much.

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  4. We were on assignment in Mexico during this celebration one year. It is a fascinating cultural event. Being there through one gave me a different understanding of the masks, skulls, flags, and other artifacts. Until then I always wondered what it was about.

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  5. And here in France, millions of chrysanthemums are grown especially for, and deposited in, cemeteries. Heaven forbid one should grow them in the garden. That would be bringing the dead too close, perhaps!

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  6. What great photos from your time in Mexico. It is an interesting tradition.

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  7. First of November in France is public holiday so we celbrate All Saints and All Souls on November 1st and Chrysanthemum flowers are the most seen flowers in cemeteries.
    Having lived in Chandler, AZ for a long time I learned to respect and even appreciate the Day of the Dead.
    Thanks for the pictures.

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