Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

In many cultures, there are special ways to honor the ancestors. Time is taken to celebrate and remember our relations known and unknown to us. In Mexico, November 1st or 2nd Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is the festival to honor the ancestors.

The origins of the modern holiday has been traced to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years. The ancient roots of this festival are honoring the Aztec Goddess Mictecacihuatl, which translates to The Lady of the Dead in English. She is the Queen of the Underworld, who rules over the afterlife and is the keeper of the bones.

Traditional ways to celebrate the Day fo the Dead include building altars in the home to honor the deceased, making and eating sugar skulls, cleaning and tending to the gravesite, offering marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. People believe that it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living on these days. Celebrations can take a cheeky tone, as celebrants remember funny events, off color tales and anecdotes about the departed. It's almost like a "roasting" with offerings of tequila, sweets and flowers.

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