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Paw Prints

Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration that takes place on November 1st and 2nd. November 1st is a day dedicated to children and November 2nd to adults. During these days, people who have passed away are remembered.

When “the world of the living and the dead come together” or when “the dead visit us”, it is celebrated differently in each place. For example, there are places where offerings are placed on the graves of the cemetery and remain all night. Where Fatima’s from, they put the offering in a small place in her house instead.

The Day of the Dead is a very important and special day for everyone. In each country and state, it is celebrated in different ways but they all have something in common; to remember those who are gone. They have made several films about the day, like “Coco” and “The Book of Life”.

This celebration is also known as Miccailhuitontli or Feast of the Dead.

It is not a day of costumes, it is a day to remember loved ones who have already passed away.

The most important tradition is that each family, school, or church sets up an altar to the dead. Photographs of the people who died are placed on the altar and are accompanied by the deceased’s favorite food; as well as articles or objects that they liked. 

All of the offerings on an altar have a special meaning; for example, the candle is the light that guides them, the incense is the blessed souls to ward off evil from the food, and the marigold flowers are to guide the souls with a path. The food that the deceased loved the most is also put out, and a plate is put for each deceased member. Among the foods that are put in the offering are tamales, mole, pan de muerto, sweet squash, and pulque, which is an alcoholic drink. There is also a picture of the deceased and papel picado.

Another important aspect is the children knocking from door to door asking for sweets on October 31st, which is almost the same as Halloween. The only difference is that Mexicans do it to celebrate the children that have died. A very representative symbol of the Day of the Dead is the Catrina and the Catrín. These are used as costumes for boys and girls in Mexico. They make the skulls out of chilacayotes (they are similar to pumpkins). 

During this celebration, we remember the people who are no longer with us, but who will always live in our hearts. We remember all the good memories that they left us before leaving for the other life. Something that Fatima’s grandmother told her is, “We must remember the good things in each person, and we must leave good memories to the people we love; because when the time comes, we don’t want to be remembered for our misdeeds.”

To conclude and close the festivity on November 2nd with a flourish, people will go to the cemetery, leave flowers on the graves of their relatives, and say a small prayer; this is so that the deceased can rest again and know that the celebration is over, but that we are still here. We will be waiting for next year to see our loved ones again.

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