Day of the dead in Mexico: a tradition to explore
Paradise or hell. Which one would you like your last home? The answer should be obvious. But apparently it does not depend on what you wish, it depends on how you behaved on earth. At least that was Christians say, so if you ask the same question to the mexicas, they would answer something different. “The faith of the souls depends on how you died”. Fascinating, isn’t?
If someone dies of natural causes, he will go to Mictlán. In that place live the Lord and the Lady of the Death Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacíhuatl. It was a very dark and hermetic place. Once you are here, you never won’t be able to escape. Instead if someone dies in combat or someone was sacrificed or a woman dies in labour, all they will go to Omeyocán. Here is the house of the god of the war, Huitzilopochtli. This place is very happy. There are always music and dances. Every fourth year a dead one resurrects and he comes back as a beautiful bird.
By the other hand, those who died in circumstances related to water, by lightning or were sacrificed go to Tlalocan. The god of rain Tláloc lives here. That was a heaven of abundance. Chichihuacuauhco is the destiny of the children who died before their baptism by the god Tláloc. The children who arrive here are fed with milk from trees. They supposed to reborn when humanity will be destroyed.
This is the origin of the Day of the Dead. It takes place between the first and the second day of November, every year, just before Halloween. It says that the souls of the dead come back those days. Therefore, contrary what could be imagining, it is a joyous celebration, full of rituals, food and abundance. These days are great to have a trip to Mexico and. So on these lines you will find out everything you need to know about the Day of the Dead and how to have fun in Mexico. ¡Órale!
Thus you must remember that these aboriginal beliefs were altered with the Spanish colonization. Therefore this curious and unique cult and celebration of death is the product of the syncretism of the Aztec pre-Hispanic culture and the European Christianity. The result is a tradition so special that the Unesco considered it, as the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
The main thing you must know is the Day of Dead has two parts. So every 12 hours, the souls are coming from October 28 to November 2. On October 28 arrives who died in accidents or they had a sudden and violent death. Those who drowned arrive on the 29ht; on the 30th is for the lonely, forgotten, who have no relatives, orphans and criminals. On the 31ht, those who were not born and those who were not baptized arrive. Meanwhile on November 1st the children come and on November 2 the adults come. Likewise all the dead are allowed to visit their loved ones on earth, so they are welcome with a great reception. Here are all the rites you must know for this magical celebration.
Be a Catrina
“Death is democratic, because in the end, blonde, brunette, rich or poor, all people end up being a skulls”
Wise words from the Aguascalientes cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada. He dedicated his art to criticizing social inequalities, the country’s misery, and the political mistakes of the time. José used his ingenious engravings of skulls camouflaged in fancy ladies. This sort of protest art had its high point with the famous Calavera Garbancera. It is necessary to indicate “garbancero” is someone that despite having an indigenous blood, denies its origin and adopt European manners. It was a direct critic to Porfiriato, one of the Mexican’s governments. The noun Catrin mean an elegant and well-dressed man. So when the controversial Diego Rivera saw the Calavera Garbancera, he baptized her as Catrina.
This memento mori and Mexican symbol of politic protest has become a magical artistic and folkloric expression. Catrina has even been linked to the Lady of the dead Mictecacíhuatl (that one of the dark and hermetic place). So if you are preparing yourself to participate in the festivity, you shall mask your face. Your imagination is the limit. If you do it right, nobody will recognize you.
Give a calaverita
This is curious and really beautiful. It is the equivalent of the Halloween of asking for candies under the threat of the trick. In México you do not request for candies, instead you give calaveritas.
The magic calaveritas are of several types. There are literary calaveritas. They are witty humorous epitaphs where death jokes with people in a very sarcastic way. There are calaveritas de azucar. They are made of sugar and chocolate or sugar and amaranth with the form of beautifully decorated skulls. They are super delicious and usually the name of a deceased relative is placed on them. It should be fun to walk any Mexican street giving away and receiving these tasty and sarcastic calaveritas.
Set a magical altar
This is a relevant issue to live the whole experience like a Mexican. The altar is the offering that is consecrated in honor of the dead and carries several important elements. First, you must have an image of the deceased. It can be a draw or a photo. You can also put in the altar some calaveritas with the name of the deceased. That symbolizes the acceptation of death. You should also put the favorite food of that special person. Remember that the deceased is a guest and you should attend him like a king. If the deceased just to smock or drink, cigars and mezcal where placed there.
It is important to place the bread of the dead. This is delicious sweet bread with orange blossom flavor, with the shape of a corpse. Legend has it that when an indigenous princess was sacrificed, her heart still beating was covered in amaranth. This bread is colored to simulate blood. This offering symbolizes fraternity. You should also have zempoaxochitl. They are beautiful orange flowers whose smell attracts the dead and symbolize the path they must follow.
In the same way there must be a representation of the elements. As such as fire through the candles in the form of a cross. This serves to indicate that the deceased has not been forgotten and cup of water. The copal should be placed. It is an aromatic resin that symbolizes the purification as well as a handful of salt. You can also put a paper cut with figures of skulls as a garland on the altar. It also usually placed any other favorite object of the deceased, such as toys in the case of children. Finally put any other element representative of the Catholic religion, such as a virgin or a cross. With all this you will be ready to receive the souls.
Live the Calaca Festival in San Miguel de Allende
Calaca means skull. San Miguel de Allende is a city where every year and for a week the transitory nature of man is commemorated. You may find a lot of interactive, introspective and spiritual activities. You will surely have a new and fresh perspective of death and life. In this festival you will enjoy film shows, plays, music, offerings, dances, poetry, Catrinas parades and others. The purpose of this festival is to involve the spectator. In this way the spectator becomes a protagonist. So get ready to feel an experience that can shake your world. Like lying down in a coffin and learn the true meaning of the here and now. Honor death to celebrate life.
The Day of the Dead is decidedly one of those beautiful Mexicans traditions and you have to experience it. Therefore, if you already decided to know this mythical country, you only have to get the best technology. My Webspot Mexico offers a pocket WiFi, which is a small wireless network router. It connects to the internet through the mobile network in 4G. You can link six devices at the same times and it serves to receive and send emails. It serves to use applications to find the best calaveritas and manage social networks. In short, everything you need from the internet. This tool will help you post that selfie with the Lady of Dead. Also it is prepaid you will not have surprises, without mentioning that you can receive it wherever and whenever you want.
While you wait for your next Day of the Dead equipped with your My Webspot Mexico pocket WiFi, please try to solve this riddle: Who talk about me, they do not know me and when they do they slander me. Those who do know me are silent, and when they are silent, they don’t defend me. So, everyone curses me until they find me, but when they find me they rest, and they save me, even though I never rest. Who will it be?
*Unlimited internet with Daily Fair Usage Policy applies. Europe & USA: 1GB in 4G/LTE - Mexico : 2GB - South East Asia, Japan & China: Unlimited 4G/LTE - Rest of the world: 500MB in 4G /LTE. Throttled speed of up to 512kbps afterwards.