Dia de Muertos: the fascinating and unique Mexican Day of the Dead
Dia de Muertos will soon be celebrated all over Mexico. This is a loving dedication to commemorate the deceased.
The Dia de Muertos is particularly dear to the Mexican community, especially because it is deeply rooted in the country’s ancient culture.
The traditional Mexican Dia de Muertos has pre-hispanic roots, and it’s meaning is to be found in the ancient native Mesoamerican people’s very concept of death: devoid of moral connotations typical of Catholic religion, as well as concepts of punishment, prize, heaven and hell, passing was equivalent to a real journey. The native thought death was just another side of life, part of nature’s cycles.
When Mexico was conquered, the native’s traditions blended with Catholic religion, and Dia de Muertos as we know it today came to be. It has always been a moment of outstanding spiritual and cultural importance. In ancient times it was celebrated for a period of two months through many celebrations: the cutting and adorning the xocotl tree, the many processions around the tree and its final knocking down, as well as the creation of numerous altars in memory of the dead. This latter custom is very much still in use in todays festivals of the Dia de Muertos.
Today it lasts only 4 days but if you travel to Mexico at the end of October you cannot miss its celebrations. Even in the Riviera Maya, Dia de Muertos is very much celebrated in homes, schools, graveyards and theme parks. In order for the souls of our loved ones to come back to visit their families, their homes and their friends, altars are made and decorated with much love and attention. Cempasúchil flowers, colored tissue paper, candles, copal, drawings or pictures that mock death, pan de muerto, ceramic or sugar skulls, salt and most importantly pictures of loved ones. Their favorite foods and drinks are placed on the altar, as well as water to quench the thirst of these spirits for their journey back into the beyond.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about this fascinating celebration while visiting the Riviera Maya. Take a look at what Xcaret park has been doing to celebrate life and death for the last 12 years and live Dia de Muertos joyfully.