For those of you who have ever heard of the Day of the Dead celebrations, here’s a little information brought to you by Eliamar Loza of Artesanias D’Mexico:
The Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead actually lasts two days. November 1 is Todos Santos or All Saints, and November 2 is Dia de los Muertos. The first honors dead children and saints, and the second, deceased adults. Every year the dead souls come back to visit with their families on these special Days of the Dead. Cemeteries are cleaned and decorated with flowers, Elaborate alters of offerings to the dead, or ofrendas, are built in the homes to welcome back each family’s departed souls. Large feasts of favorite foods are prepared. Special gifts, items of which the dead person was fond of or which might be needed for the next life, are also place don the alter. The dead souls are allowed to partake first of the essence of the offerings and then, at the end of the two days, friends of the family are invited to feast on the food and drink that is on the alter. The flower most often used on alters is the golden yellow marigold. Red cockscombs are also quite popular.
Death is seen as the next part of a journey, an extension of life. Life on this planet is fleeting. We stay here on earth for a while, then we move on. Death is ever present, especially in areas where the infant mortality rate is high. It is not dreaded, but viewed face on. Therefore, the holiday is a joyous one, where loved ones have come back for an annual visit, and everyone celebrates.
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