Warm Mexican Day of the Dead

  People who have seen the movie “Dreaming of a Survival” will not forget its very different from the usual death-themed films: warm saturated colors, a wonderful story, the dead people are skeletons in different outfits, different makeup, with rich expressions and delicate emotions, warm and vivid.
  This is not the whimsy of the film creators. The “Dreaming” is based on the Mexican Day of the Dead, a traditional festival that shows the strong cultural characteristics of the Indian people, and is always an important ceremony like the local “Spring Festival”.
  After a year of suspension of the parade and celebration due to the new crown pneumonia, from October 31 to November 2, 2021, Mexico City once again appeared as brightly colored skeletons, floats and singers and dancers as in the cartoon. They move lively through the city, linking death and renewal, the dead and the mortal, remembrance and courage.
Meeting the skeletons again

  In Mexico, the costume parade with the image of skeletons is considered the most vivid signature of the Day of the Dead. Remember the James Bond film series “Ghostbusters”? The main character Bond is in the parade of the Day of the Dead, because cleverly wearing a skeleton mask, to successfully blend in with the general public, to escape tracking.
  This is a microcosm of the reality of the Day of the Dead, in other countries frightening skeletons, to Mexico has become a culture. Here, the skeleton means “the origin of life” – white bones, expressionless, hollow …… are the original appearance of life. People respect skeletons, reverence for the dead.
  On the Day of the Dead, you can wear a skull mask like Bond, and more handy people will wear very delicate and vivid skull makeup – bright colors with the rich expression of the face, witty and warm. In terms of clothing, people will also match the mask or makeup on the face, and wear and ghost-related clothing, such as skeleton-like body “white bone costume”.
  The streets and alleys are also full of skeleton elements of the decorations, the most common is the exquisite skeleton dolls, store door guarding the unmanned stalls, is a dressed in everyday clothes, wearing a long wig, peasant woman hat “ordinary skeleton crowd”; exquisite carriage, sitting in rich, meticulously combed hair, sideburns “noblewoman skeleton”, a closer look, this “noblewoman” horse and coachman are also skeletons ……
  The atmosphere of the Day of the Dead and the elaborate skeleton, will make people in a feast for the eyes also believe: sitting in front of the store to guard the stall of the skeleton woman, in life is also so dressed to sit here, spent her peaceful life.
Returning happy

  Of course, skeletons are not always quiet and mourning. The living dressed as skeletons, the most important “use” is actually – to wake up the dead.
  From October 31, the streets of Mexico, people dressed as skeletons, to shout, run and jump as much as possible to make as much noise. They will even for the pet dog also painted skeleton makeup, waiting for these “skeleton dog” barking, together with waking up the sleeping spirits of the dead.
  That night, the family will prepare quilts, pillows and various food, together to the cemetery wake. After the hustle and bustle of the day, they believe that the deceased, who has been sleeping for a year, has probably “awakened” and is waiting for the family to welcome them home.
  In front of the cemetery, an elaborate altar is placed for the deceased. Most of the altars are arranged in several tiers. On the top tier is a picture of the deceased, and the lower tiers hold some of the deceased’s favorite foods or other items in turn, including Mexican food, candy and sweet bread.
  Because the deceased is also subdivided into two parts, the “Young Spirit” festival on November 1 – remembering the deceased children, and the “Adult” festival on November 2 – remembering the deceased adults, so in the altar arrangement, will also highlight the different identities of the deceased children or adults.
  If it is an adult, there will be tequila, Coke and other “happy water”; if it is a child, there will be his favorite toys. In addition, each altar must be toiletries, such as water basin, bath towels, mirrors, etc., to “clean up” the returning spirits.
  Marigold is also a certain element, the colors of the Day of the Dead belong to the marigold. In the eyes of Mexicans, the marigold is the “flower of death”, with petals scattered like the rays of the sun, which can guard the dead, warm the cold grave, and also through its special fragrance, can communicate between the two worlds of death and life. In the evening vigil service, people will use the petals of the marigold to pave a unique “flower road”, so that the flower’s unique scent and dazzling color can lead the dead to go home smoothly.
  At midnight, the church bell rings 12 times, and the time crosses to November 1, when the spirits break through the barrier between life and death and return home with the fragrance of flowers and fireworks and the thoughts of their loved ones.

  Compared to Halloween, which is a bit gloomy and focuses on horror, the Day of the Dead has a warm and bright base. Take the “reserved item” of both – the matter of candy, the Day of the Dead candy and the “skull culture” of the same lineage, almost all made of skeletons or coffins and other dead objects Skull candy” and “chocolate coffin” are often the most popular sweets and desserts during the Day of the Dead.
  In addition, “death bread” is also a popular food on the Day of the Dead. Although almost the taste of ordinary bread, but the surface of the bread has a cross-shaped raised shape, bite more crispy, but also represents the human skeleton.
  From the food can be seen, Mexicans are not taboo to those elements that can be associated with death, but also happy to eat the same food with the dead, to feel some kind of intimacy with the deceased loved ones across life and death.

  The spiritual core of the Day of the Dead may be traced back to the “post-classical period” in Mexico before Columbus arrived in the Americas. 1521 or so, the Aztec empire grew and Mexico was immersed in its civilizational envelope. The Aztecs believed that grief was a disrespect to the dead, and that constant celebration and revelry was the best way to always remember the dead. The iconic “Katrina Skull” that is so prominent today on the Day of the Dead is also derived from the Aztec culture’s image of the Queen of the Underworld.
  Even apart from the lively, not-quite-daily Day of the Dead, a look at the most common Mexican cemetery reveals a different understanding of death. Mexico’s cemeteries are completely and “gloomy” “horror” or even “solemn”, each grave looks colorful, very personal, as if it is really “Dreaming of the Ring Travels” into reality. The cemeteries are not isolated in a deserted area, but can be in a residential area, even next door to an ordinary family. It seems as if the deceased has never left, but has simply moved to a different home and a different bed to live in.
  There is a Mexican proverb that translates to mean, “Death is not the end of life.” Death is not the end of life, forgetting is. A person has only left this world completely when he has disappeared from the memory of all those who loved him.
  And the Day of the Dead, with its fervent welcome ceremony, the skeleton makeup, candy, flowers and food that come back year after year, tells the departed: look, all these joyful scenes and elaborate decorations are welcoming you back. Death never separates love, we just meet again later.

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