Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Deadly Celebration

Tomorrow is the celebration dedicated to the dead but nowhere it is more colorful than it is in Mexico. When I was studying years ago {not this last time... ha!} I went to there on a student excahnge program and loved the traditions that revolved around this celebration.

I didn't get my face painted but participated in the many festivities involved with it. The one that left a deeper impresion on me was making an altar in the name of a person or those who have died. Usually they get built a month in advance and include photos and belongings of the departed as well as relgious images, flowers, candles and little skeleton figurines {called calacas and catrinas}.

The celebrations start on October 31 {Halloween for most of us} and extend all the way to November 2. People traditionally go to the cemeteries where their loved ones rest and decorate their tombs with candles, bring offerings and spread cempasĂșcil {or marigolds if you prefer} because they are believed to attract to souls of the deceased.

The traditions are colorful and ironically, full of life. There is a different approach to death and what it means and this is something that has been part of Mexican culture since before the colonization. Experiencing a tradition like this is one of the best ways to get to know a rich culture like this one. If there is a Mexican colony around you, go and check out what they´re doing the between today and Friday.

Have a great day!