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Mexico: Where the 'Day of the Dead' is marked with a celebration

2012-11-02

FRANCISCO LUNA LIMON
Mexican Community in Rome
"It's really not something nostalgic. It's more about remembering those who are no longer with us. So as a way to remember them we place items they liked when they were here on earth. It's a way to remember that their spirit is still with us.”

All the things that person enjoyed in life are represented on the altar. From food and beer, to pictures and books. Usually, there are plenty of skulls made out of sugar. It's a tradition goes back to the Aztec culture. In time it was combined with Catholicism. Now at the center of the altar is the cross, representing heaven.

FRANCISCO LUNA LIMON
Mexican Community in Rome
"The Aztecs believed that life is not just here on Earth. They believed that after death there is an afterlife. So even though the body of  our loved one's is no longer with us,  their spirit is.”

According to tradition, it's during this time, that the spirit of the dead come back to Earth, to comfort those who miss them. It's not seen as something to fear, but rather as a reunion. But now some are concerned the tradition will  slowly fade away.

FRANCISCO LUNA LIMON
Mexican Community in Rome
"Unfortunately this type of celebrations are seen less and less in Mexico. I think it's being replaced with the Halloween concept, which is a shame. I hope the tradition grows strong, so it can continue, because if we stop celebrating this it will completely stop. It will be a tradition that won't come back.”

Interestingly, the altar doesn't just include items  that spirits can enjoy on Earth. It also includes things that will facilitate their journey back to Heaven.


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