Friday, October 24, 2014

"Day of the Dead"

   More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now central Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. It's a ritual in Mexico that begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd. 
     The first day is a sad day and is when they bring death back to life through rituals, and spend the night at the cemetery where their ancestors are burried. During the days of the dead, the family often takes the opportunity to visit the gravesite and pull weeds, clean any debris and decorate the graves of loved ones.  They eat a lot, drink, cry, dance, and it's all centered around the relatives. On the 2nd and 3rd nights they throw parties and do everything like their relatives liked to do such as drinking more, maybe playing a mariachi song that their relative enjoyed, and it's a big party celebrating the ancestors "return".
     This celebration or ritual is the Mexican's way of conquering death. Death isn’t perceived like it is in America in how we are soft on the topic and don't really speak too much about it, but in Mexico it is embraced.The rituals used to celebrate the day are varied and colorful.  Yet, all carry the same message, celebrating the day of the dead is a true celebration of life.

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