Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Dia de los Muertos

This coming Thursday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead will be celebrated here in Mexico City.

The ritual is celebrated in Mexico and some other parts of the world - but it is mainly a Mexico City celebration. 

The history is interesting. 

Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual, such as the use of skulls. The Aztecs kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth.

Now, during the celebration, people don wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls are also placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. The skulls are used to honor the dead, whom the Aztecs believed came back to visit during the month long ritual.

Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the native Aztec's viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.  

As the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious. They perceived the indigenous people to be barbaric and pagan. (sound familiar?)

In their attempts to convert them to Catholicism, the Spaniards tried to kill the ritual. But like the old Aztec spirits, the ritual refused to die.

To make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today.

Stay tuned for Photo's...

oh yes - dinner was a prawn cocktail - Mexican style - chilli, tomato, avocado - with a cerveza!

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