If everyone in Mexico is having fun and the cities are filled with dead people, you shouldn't be surprised - the country celebrates the Day of the Dead ( Dia de los Muertos ). During this period, the usual course of events stops: night becomes day, and day becomes night, the living pretend to be dead, and those who have departed into another world come to life. This behavior may seem strange, but in Mexico there is a different attitude towards the dead: death here is a holiday, those who met her are greeted with joy and believe that his life continued in the other world. Dia de los Muertos is a joyful day when you can meet your relatives.
The history of this day goes back to the ancient Maya and Aztecs, whose beliefs were closely associated with death and the ritual of resurrection. During the period when Mexico was not yet conquered by the Spaniards, the Aztecs kept the skulls of departed relatives in their homes and used them in various rituals. For one summer month, the ancients held sacrificial festivals, paying tribute to both the dead and their leader, the goddess Miaktlansihuatl.
The conquerors found this attitude blasphemous, so they decided to eradicate the "mockery of death". The period of celebration was reduced from a month to three days, bloody sacrifices were canceled, but it was not possible to get rid of the joyful, not mournful attitude towards death and replace the skull with a cross.
When is it celebrated?
The conquerors tried to fit this pagan holiday as much as possible into the Catholic canon and postpone it to the beginning of November, when Christians celebrate All Saints' Day and All the Dead. The celebration falls on November 1-2:
- November 1 - day of little angels (departed children and babies)
- November 2 - itself Dia de los Muertos.
- It is believed that the deceased return to their relatives' homes a year after death to feel their love.
- The preparations for the holiday begin a few months before November: costumes are sewn, parades and dances, performances, etc. are rehearsed.
- The culmination of the holiday is a visit to the cemetery. In the parking lots near the burial places, there is nowhere for an apple to fall: people are putting in order the graves of the dead (they cover them with petals, decorate with wreaths, put bouquets and wreaths of marigolds).
- In large cities, a night carnival is held - a parade of the dead. The streets are filled with roving bands, dancing skeletons, skulls, mariachi, processions of mummers.
All this madness lasts for 2 days, until November 3 will not subside until next year.