Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated in Mexico and elsewhere. It is associated with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and is held on November 1 and 2. The festival is also known as ‘Dia de Muerte’ in the United States and other Latin American countries and is celebrated on November 2.
About Day of the Dead in brief
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated in Mexico and elsewhere. It is associated with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and is held on November 1 and 2. Mexican academics are divided on whether the festivity has indigenous pre-hispanic roots or whether it is a 20th-century rebranded version of a Spanish tradition developed by the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas. The Dia de Muertos was then promoted throughout the country as a continuity of ancient Aztec festivals celebrating death, a theory strongly encouraged by Mexican poet Octavio Paz. In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The holiday is more commonly called \”Día de los Muerto\” outside Mexico. Whereas in Spain and most of Latin America the public holiday and similar traditions are typically held on All Saints’ Day, the Mexican government under Cardenas switched it to All Souls’ day. The festivity is a national symbol and as such is taught in the nation’s school system, typically asserting a native origin. It has far more in common with European traditions of Danse macabre and their allegories of life and death personified in the human skeleton to remind us of the ephemeral nature of life. It resulted from the Reform Laws under the. presidency of Benito Juarez which forced family pantheons out of Churches and into civil cemeteries, requiring rich families having servants guarding family possessions displayed at altars.
The modern characteristics of the holiday led to a nationalist culture and iconography based on pride all things indigenous – portraying Native Americans as the origin of everything truly Mexican. In the 1930s, Quetzalcoatl was officially promoted by the government as a substitute for the Spanish Three Kings tradition, offering a person dressed up as the deity offering gifts to poor children. In this context, the Day of Dead began to be officially isolated from the Catholic Church by Lazaro Carden as a left-leaning anti-clericalist invention whereby the emphasis is laid on death and what what Mexicans consider to be the death of the dead. The tradition of staying up all night with the dead, also points to the recent origin of the tradition of ‘velar’ or ‘staying up with the deceased’, is a recent addition to the holiday. It was first introduced in the 19th century and is still widely practiced in Mexico today, but it is not widely known in the rest of Catholic Southern Europe and Latin America. It is commonly portrayed as a day of celebration rather than mourning. The festival is also known as ‘Dia de Muerte’ in the United States and other Latin American countries and is celebrated on November 2.