Food for thought, by: Marya Irem

Dear reader,
It’s been a while since I last wrote something, the truth is it is VERY hard trying to find a topic to write about. I had to rack through my brain and someone in the deep, dark depths of my head I found my something….. I sincerely hope that those of you who have been patient with me enjoy my piece and I hope it’s worth the wait.
As I’m writing this the nights are drawing in faster and the air is getting chillier. The leaves on the trees have turned into shades of orange and yellow and its the perfect weather for cuddling up in a blanket and drinking a hot mug of cocoa. I hope you are all sitting tight as I get into today’s topic….

Shall we begin?

“Día de los Muertos” Or most commonly known as “The day of the dead”. This particular celebration that sparked my interest and I’ve been dying to write about it (See what I did there?) Just recently I watched a movie called “Coco” its a Disney film and for those of you who haven’t seen it I would suggest watching it. But I’m not here to write about Disney films, I’m here to write about this particular celebration.
The day of the dead is a Mexican festival that is held every year on the 31st of October untill the 2nd of November. Its a day where families remember their dead ancestors and loved ones and put up memorials and leave out food and gifts for them.
I know what you’re thinking “Is this the Mexican version of Halloween?” The truth is Halloween started out exactly like this! Halloween was also known as “All Saint’s Eve” it was held in honour of Saints and departed souls and Martyrs. Halloween and The day of dead have become two completely different festivals, yet they started out the same!
The difference between Halloween and Día de los Muertos is that on Halloween children dress up in scary costumes and go knock on people’s doors and ask for treats, it only lasts one day.
Día de los Muertos lasts for three days and on the first day known as “All Hallow’s Eve”(October 31st) the children usually make a children’s altar to invite the spirits of the dead children. The second day known as “All Saint’s Day” (November 1st) the adult spirits are invited to visit. The third and final day (November 2nd) is “All Souls Day”, It is when the families go out to the Cemetery and decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives.
As far as I know Día de los Muertos is a festival that has been around for a VERY LONG time and I’m talking roughly 16th Century and maybe even longer! It was originally not celebrated in Northern Mexico until the 20th Century, it was unknown to them because they had different traditions amd beliefs. The people and the Church rejected it as a day related to merging Catholic Christianity and pagan beliefs. They celebrated “All Saint’s Day” the same as all the Christians did. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Mexican Government made it a National holiday and all of Northern Mexico took part in the celebrations.
1) The flowers that they use to decorate are often Marigolds also know as “ Fleur de Muerto” (Flower of dead). These flowers are believed to attract the souls of the dead.

2) Toys are often bought for the children (“los angelitos” also known as “ the little angels”).

3) Bottles filled with alcohol are left out for the adults they are usually filled with tequila, mezcal or pulque.

4) Families will also offer candies, trinkets and foods such as candied pumpkin “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead) and sugar skulls.

This celebration is rather quite fascinating and if not filled with a little macabre! If any of you ever have the pleasure in taking part in such a celebration…. Be sure to pay your respects to the dead!

Mama it is time! We lay out our food and beverages.
Tonight is the night where we celebrate by no means your average festival.
Candied pumkin, sugar skulls all surround by Marigold.
And for the finishing touch…
Toys for the los angelitos and it is time now my amigos!

-Día de los Muertos

(Marya Irem, Germany)

Photo Curtesy, Tehdees e Rehmat, Pakistan

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