“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”
– George Eliot
Day of the dead is a tradition in some countries in the world, for example, Guatemala, Ecuador, India, Japan, Peru and Mexico is one of them. In the mexican culture, the “day of death” is seen as the way of not forgetting the loved ones and also think they are visiting us, even though we cannot see them.
The party is divided into two dates depending on whether the person passed away as a child or as an adult. These occasions are celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of november respectively. The offerings consists of the food and beverages the dead enjoyed when were alive.
At the parties there are usually flowers, specially cempasúchil, salt, cal, color paper and a cruise made from cal. These are basic elements in order to create an offering, could be in house or a cemetery where the dead are buried.
Mexicans dress up and are made up to look like death. Some of them have dinner or lunch in the cemetery and leave a chair for their lost loved one who will come and spend time with them even though they cannot see them, but if they are lucky their presence can be felt. Additionally, there is music and mariachi. It is a party, where the deceased relative is honored and respected.
If you are interested in mexican culture, the movie “Coco” is a very good example of the beliefs, traditions and values from Mexico and its people, for example, respect for old adults and relatives, love for family, which means family is always first, living in groups, keep tradition in every generation and more. Lose a loved one can be difficult to deal with, but if you take the approach of the mexican culture, you begin to feel a sense of calmness in your heart and mind.
By the way, mexicans celebrate day of the dead with a hot chocolate and “Pan de muerto”, means “bread of the dead”, no worries the dead are respected and they are not eaten hehe (just kidding). It is a sugar bread, if you would like to try, look at the recipe Bread of the dead
Always remember your loved ones, alive and dead.