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Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

By Charlotte Copeland

Posted: 4th October 2016 08:49

A day to celebrate life, rather than mourn death, for families to come together and remember their loved ones with the happiness and joy that they shared in life. The Day of the Dead is the beautiful 3000-year-old Mexican ritual that is celebrated throughout Latin America. With songs, alcohol and a buzz of brightly painted faces, it’s hardly a morbid affaire.

The Day of the Dead, or Days of the Dead, is a two-day long ritual. November 1st being Dia de los Inocentes, which honours children, while November 2nd is Dia de los muertos, for adult souls. The celebration is an ancient Aztec tradition with a blend of Catholic influence from Spanish conquistadors, and falls on the same dates as All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Visitors are welcome to join the celebrations, and graveyards are open to everyone – where families will decorate the graves of loved ones with candles and huge bouquets of colourful flowers, drink tequila, and talk fondly of the departed while merrily singing their favourite songs.

Elaborately decorated altars, called ofrendas, are set up in the home, schools and streets to welcome the spirits, as it is believed that the dead can return home to be with their families during the ritual. While families often celebrate the holiday privately, there are plenty of public displays to be enjoyed as a visitor, and as long as you are respectful, no one will mind your presence in graveyards during the celebrations.

You can take part in Day of the Dead festivals anywhere in Mexico, but destinations where celebrations are particularly colourful are Oaxaca, with night-time carnival-esque processions known as comparsas, which involves the iconic display of faces painted with beautifully bright sugar skull patterns. Mixquic, where you will find street stalls and witness candle-lit vigils. Aguascalientes, the festival takes place on the city fairground and includes exhibitions of handicrafts, theatre productions and concerts, and Riviera Maya, with dance performances, parades and special tours.

About Charlotte Copeland

Charlotte is an eager traveller whose adventures include working in America and interrailing around Europe. Her most beloved destinations to date include Dubrovnik, New Orleans and Pennsylvania, whilst her happiest travel memory is visiting Elvis Presley’s Graceland, on behalf of her grandmother. She has plans to continue on her journey to discover new and exciting parts of the world that she is yet to explore.

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