In Mexico there are traditions that never die, traditions that unite their people and show how diverse the culture of this country is, such is the case of the Day of the Dead festival, have you heard about this?
Every November 1st and 2nd we believe that the souls of our deceased loved ones return to earth to visit those of us who are still alive. So, we Mexican families prepare to receive them, celebrate them and remember those days when they still shared the land with us. Pantheons are filled with music, celebrations, colors to decorate the graves and whole families who gather to eat and talk with the one who has left us. Also, in Mexican homes, some people put up simple altars or more elaborate and detailed ones, there are 3 or 7 levels, and they are filled with whose favorite food we remember, with cempaxúchitl flowers and candles, but salt, water and copal are also put up, what for?
Each one of these symbols has an important meaning and varies depending on the region of the country where it is celebrated, but normally petals of cempaxúchitl flowers are placed (the flowers must be stripped to later form a path), their striking color together with the lit candles will guide the soul to cross over and come to us with good. The salt will purify the soul, the water will help to mitigate the thirst of the soul and the copal will drive away the bad spirits. There are other symbols that can be placed on the altar, such as the papel picado (union between life and death / tissue paper flags chiseled with a variety of patterns), the pan de muerto (a gift from the host, from the earth), sugar skulls (representing the deceased of the family), the cross of whitewash on the floor (representing the 4 cardinal points) and many more, as we explained above, the decoration of the altar depends too much on the region of the country where it is placed, but honestly, the way you place the altar does not matter, since you will put the meaning you want to what you and your family add.
Every year, in the month of November Mexico receives thousands of international tourists who want to know more about this impressive tradition. Oaxaca, Lake Janitzio in Michoacán, Xochimilco in the CDMX and the Riviera Maya are some of the most popular destinations to learn more about this holiday and celebrate with us. It is worth mentioning that in 2008 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared this festival as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, because of its importance and meaning as it is a traditional expression -temporary and living at the same time-, inclusive, representative and communitarian. For UNESCO, the annual meeting between indigenous peoples and their ancestors fulfils a considerable social function by affirming the role of the individual within society. It also contributes to strengthening the cultural and social status of Mexico’s indigenous communities. The Day of the Dead is considered a celebration of memory and a ritual that privileges remembrance over oblivion.
If these dates coincide during your visit to the Riviera Maya, you will be able to witness the contest of altars that each hotel internally prepares with their collaborators. Also, the X famous park organizes a festival called “Life and Death”. Come and celebrate with us the Day of the Dead.