Día de Muertos or Day of The Dead, in english, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States, on November 1st and November 2nd. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually it was associated with October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christian dates of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
This is a celebratory holiday, not one of mourning, and seeing tequila is a common thing in cemeteries and altars. Often, a bottle of the deceased’s favorite type of tequila, mezcal, or pulque is shared among the family in order to honor the deceased and celebrate their life. Other popular offerings include a sweet bread known as pan de muerto, or “bread of the dead”.
Below you can see a photo of an altar, it has many different elements that represent a specific thing and each one relates to the life of the deceased.
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