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Rome Reports

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Mexican community in Rome honors pandemic victims

Colors, sweets and flowers. This is how Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. The tradition has made it all the way to the Eternal City.

In Mexico the Day of the Dead altar is a symbolic representation of pre-Hispanic traditions and religious syncretism. This year, the Mexican community in Rome dedicated it to all those who have died because of the pandemic.

Mexican community in Rome
“They deserve [to be remembered and honored.] It's a very difficult moment for everyone. Although we continue to move forward, we must pause for a minute to realize that although life goes on, it has stopped for many others. This is our offering as a Mexican community in Rome.”

With incense, sugar skulls, traditional decorations and typical Mexican cuisine, each person seeks to honor the dead.

Dedicated to victims of the pandemic, this altar includes representations of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, patron saints of doctors; a “catrina” dressed as a nurse; and a picture of Mario Molina, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 and who passed away last October.

Mexican community in Rome
“They're offerings for the dead. We have the 'pan de muerto' and objects that the loved one normally used when he or she was alive.”

The entire structure is crowned with a colorful arch made of flowers, a symbol of hope. Its beauty honors the dead and illuminates the path to resurrection and to the awaited reunion with loved ones.

For many Mexicans, it's a form of art, a tradition toward which they put all their efforts and commitment. In 2008 it was added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT