A “Day of the Dead?” – Many people initially react with surprise when they hear of this traditional Mexican holiday, celebrated from October 31 to November 2 throughout the country. But, it is not uncommon for families throughout the world to visit grave sites and memorial parks to honor past family members and war heroes. Mexicans just do it with more celebration!
Día de Muertos or “Day of the Dead” is a celebration, not of death, but of the continuum of life. This holiday is as important to Mexicans as Thanksgiving is in the USA and Canada. Families travel long distances to be with their loved ones on this occasion. Its origins are distinctly Mexican: During the time of the Aztecs, a month-long summer celebration was overseen by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. After the Aztecs were conquered by Spain and Catholicism became the dominant religion, the customs became intertwined with the Christian commemoration of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1.
The holiday is joyous celebration! It is a time for the family to pray, to reflect, to honor and to remember their dead. In a culture without written family trees, parents and grandparents pass on to their children lively, humorous tales about those who came before. The holiday is not associated with Halloween in any way. In fact, many Mexican families oppose the American tradition of Halloween since it distracts from their traditional “Day of the Dead” remembrance.
The tradition includes building “altars” with the favorite foods and items representing the passions and interests of past loved ones. Families also visit grave sites, usually spending the entire day, eating, celebrating and reflecting on the lives of past friends and family members.
In 2008, Mexico’s indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead was recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity due to its importance as a defining aspect of Mexican culture and the unique aspects of the celebration which have been passed down through generations.
During this special time, the entire country is decorated with flowers with every town holding special events and activities.
Watch this video to learn more about this special holiday:
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: