Death is understood all around the world in different ways. In Mexico death has its own day: the Day of the Dead. This isn’t a festivity for mourning, regret or sadness, au contraire mes amigos, death is a celebration in Mexico.
The Day of the Dead can be tracked back to 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, passing through the days of the Aztec civilization with the adoration of goddess Mictecacihuatl (c’mon, say it, don’t be shy), until modern days, where the “lady of dead” became the modern Catrina.
We celebrate the dead in two days; November the 1st is to honour the children and infants; and the deceased adults are honoured on the 2nd. What do we during these days? Mainly three things:
1. Spend some time with the dead; we visit the cemeteries, bring to our passed relatives their favourite foods and drinks, flowers, and we clean their graves.
2. Altars are a must; we make an altar or shrine (as big as we can afford it but always with seven levels), using bright colours (mostly orange and yellow), where we put pictures of our late relatives, flowers and their favourite food.
Day of the Dead is the way we Mexicans celebrate death. Instead of fearing it, we greet it, respect it and, through our beliefs, interact with the souls of our dead relatives.
Maybe that’s why Mexicans get over the loss of a relative or friend faster and better than other cultures, because we acknowledge death as a temporary and relative stage of the gone soul; a soul that wanders freely through the universe, coming back to where it belongs every year, to say “hi” to whom it left behind.