Mexican Day of the Dead Customs and Traditions

By: Mark Lopes

A visitor in Mexico is sure to feel amazed at the excitement they can witness by the midst of October all over the region. They are preparing themselves for the most wonderful of celebrations; Mexican Day of the Dead. For the residents, it is a time of festivities, an occasion when their loved ones come to spend time with them from heavens. In the midnight of October 31st, its gates get opened allowing the deceased to be with their families, even though for a short period of time. The elaborate preparations and festivities are arranged in their honor.
Customs and traditions
Mexican Day of the Dead is renowned for its unique customs and traditions. In fact, it has spread all over the world. The rituals are designed in such a way as to declare the vitality of life. It also announces that death is not to be lamented upon, but to be celebrated. Given below is a quick glance into some of them.
Preparing an altar: Mexican Day of the Dead altar can either be expensive or affordable. The determinant factor would be the financial position of the one who celebrates it. You can even prepare it with the unused items getting dust in your garage. However, for the majority of the Mexicans, this remained a costly affair. Surveys show that people spend their two months of income for the purpose. They believe that the spirits would bless them for a prosperous life in the coming days. The altar gets decorated with flowers, the favorite food items and trinkets; everything the departed soul loved to have. People try to give whatever they can, to please the spirits. For them, the offering should be delicious enough that the spirits are able to enjoy having after a long journey from their world to the earth.
Sugar skull fair: This can be regarded as the paradise of children. Skulls, coffins or skeletons; one can get whatever one wants from here. Your child is sure to feel delighted at the sight of the toys like; the model of a coffin, just pull the string and a skeleton pops out smiling! These are offered in the graves or the altar at home to please the spirits of the dead children. There are even competitions where one can see gigantic sugar skulls. Explore the market and you can buy any number of toys made from sugar at affordable prices.
Visiting the graves: November 1st, the first day of the celebration is dedicated to the departed children. In the evening, everyone goes to the grave as a procession. They spend the night there; cleaning and decorating the area. Everything the departed children enjoyed are offered in the grave; from toys to the food items. Loved ones spend time there remembering fond moments spent with the deceased.

A grand dinner is prepared, one set for the deceased and one for the living. It is believed that the departed souls come and enjoy the spiritual essence of the items being offered on the altar or in the cemetery. On the second day, adults are remembered. Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and similar items find their places on the altar. When combined with the items like the bread of the dead, the occasion becomes a grand feast.

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Be a part of the Mexican Day of the Dead festivities. Death is not something to be mourned about, one should rejoice over it!

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