Day of the Dead
In my 22 years of life, on October 31st, November 1st and 2nd I have celebrated the Day of the Dead from different perspectives, but things that never missed are traditional food, cempasuchil flowers, altars and deep spiritualism. My family always told me that this days are made to honor and remember our loved ones who are gone and specially my grandma believed that in this way we can bring their spirits to us again.
Since my childhood in Chiapas until high school I celebrated Day of the Dead at school. Sometimes we had altars contests and the things that we used were a table and in the top we put pictures of our loved beings, beside of it a cross, chopped paper, skull candies, candels, traditional food. In Chiapas I liked to use Chipilin and corn tamales. Also we used some fruits, of course dead’s bread, tequila or mezcal in shots and sometimes Coca-Cola bottles, due to it was the favorite beverage of the deceased, which is very common, and in the end I always liked to decorate the bottom with cempasuchil flowers figures; there are many ways to decorate altars but what really matters is the meaning and the conection with the deceased spirits that we feel on our hearts.
Also many people go to cemeteries to visit deceased and much of us carry flowers and candels for them. My family is from Oaxaca, so two times I had the chance to visit the cemetery there, it is huge, very crowded, nostalgic people can be perceived, flowers and more. I visited my great grandparents caskets, it was very special for me to see how we can connect with our ancestors. Besides in Oaxaca you could see big groups of people walking in downtown streets disguised of Catrinas (skulls) and wearing traditional clothing.
When I move on to Yucatan I found different mores; here traditions are pretty influenced by mayans. First I came upon with a different festivity name which is Hanal Pixan (Food of spirit), later the food; it’s a tradition to eat Pib or Pibipollo, this means buried chicken and makes reference to the traditional cooking method, the dish is a specie of tamale or corn cake. His cooking process is underground. A hole is dug at the base and placed limestone. This will heat with wood, then crank up the big tamale. Then the tamale is wrapped with plantain leaves, to keep the flavor. After being placed will be “buried “, until fully cooked using the heat from the stones. Interesting right?. By last exist an event especially for this days in downtown where I see more than 200 altars, food, artistic Mayan representations, games and traditions, this event is named Paseo de las Animas. I can’t wait to go this year.