Discover Mexico´s Culture – El Día de los Muertos
If you love Cozumel then you probably keep coming back and most likely do your best to understand true Mexican culture more instead of just putting it aside. At least that is what I have come to experience when talking with travelers that are in love with Cozumel, Mexico. So today and especially today I wanted to talk a little bit about a very popular Mexican tradition and holiday. El Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead!
Speaking with many people back in the US I find that there is a common misconception that Day of the Dead is the Mexican equivalent of what Halloween is in the United States. That couldn´t be farther from the truth. Although it it begins on Oct 31st in the evening it also goes through Nov 1st and Nov 2nd its actually very different from Halloween. This is a holiday meant to honor the dead by gathering friends and family to pray for family and loved ones who have passed on and to reflect on the frailty of life. This includes the building of private altars which are called ofrendas and on these altars they are decorated with candy skulls and marigolds as well as with the favorite foods and dishes of the deceased loved ones as a way of honoring them. These private altars are usually built in the cemetery but if you have been in Cozumel during this season you may also notice some people build them right at their homes or porches.
“Why is it called DAY OF THE DEAD if its spread across 2 days?” Oct 31st is All Hallows eve and also when children in Mexico build their altars to invite the Angelitos or little angels which are the little children who have passed on Nov. 1st is actually Día de los Inocentes or Day of the Innocents. November 1st is when the children who have passed on are honored and invited to the altars that have been built usually by the children. November 2nd is actually the Día de los Muertos but also known as All Saints Day when the adults are honored and this is the day that families normally make their visits to the cemetery.
In Cozumel you get a mix of both Mainstream Halloween and Day of the Dead. This due to the constant flow of tourists on the island combined with the understanding by the warm locals that Halloween is a fun Holiday for most people in the United States(as it has certainly lost its religious significance for some time now). There is usually trick or treating to some extent on the Plaza but usually spread across November 1st and 2nd as well. There will be many depictions of La Catrina which is a Female skeleton often depicted doing things that the living do regularly. This is a tradition that goes back to pre-Hispanic times although it has changed quite a bit. It is not a somber or morbid Holiday and is a very interesting Holiday. Discover Mexico among others always prepare and display authentic Day of the Dead altars so come check out Day of Dead here in Cozumel. If you didn´t know much about this tradition hopefully now you will understand it a little more.