|Lady of Duality by Rick Ortega|
The Day of the Dead is celebrated all over central and southern Mexico at the end of October and beginning of November `It was originally held at the beginning of summer but the date was changed as Christianity merged with the native Mexican animistic ways. This video is at Oaxaca.
“The observation of Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead, is seen throughout Mexico, and increasingly by people of other ethnicities and backgrounds who lacking a ritual of their own have found a heart-home where they can honor their ancestors and other loved ones who have crossed over. We are happy to share our beautiful ritual with persons who approach it with reverence, lightness of spirit, and an understanding that Dia de Muertos is not Halloween but a sacred remembering... a sacred witnessing of the joys and sorrows of our ancestors, and a celebration of the strength of spirit of their descendants to preserve the soul of this sacred pre-contact tradition.
As a result of colonization Dia de los Muertos now take place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Typically November 1 is to honor children and infants, known as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) and as Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels). November 2nd honors adults and is known as Día de los Muertos and Día de los Santos Difuntos (Day of the Holy Dead). Before Mexico’s invasion by the Spaniards these holy days took place in August, and were celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to Mictecacihuatl known as the "Lady of the Dead" and corresponds to the modern Catrina.
Dia de Muertos is when we gather to pray for and invite friends and family members who have died to come and enjoy some time with us within whose hearts they yet live. We build altars to their memory at home and in public places. Some altares are simple and some elaborate. Often we will hold vigils at the cemetery taking our time to lovingly clean the headstones, place candles and bouquets of cempaxochitl (marigolds) on graves, toys (in the case of children), pan de muerto, tamales, drinks, and incense burners filled with copal. It is not uncommon for us to take lawn chairs to the cemetery and sit for hours recounting favorite anecdotes and memories of special days and hire a small Norteño or mariachi group to play favorite songs that our beloveds enjoyed when alive. It's both a sad and joyful time!
In the coming days I will be posting photographs, videos, and articles on Dia de los Muertos and hope that what is shared helps you celebrate the life of your loved ones while at the same time honoring this important tradition, which is the religious and cultural legacy of the ancestors of Mexihca, Mayan, and other Native people’s of Mexico.”
— Grace Alvarez Sesma
(Respectfully, please keep in mind that this is a specific religious cultural observance. Used outside of that as in a winter solstice celebration or Halloween dress up or other non-Dia De Muerto observance, could be considered cultural appropriation, especially when done by someone who is not a member of the original Mexican community. By this I mean taking one or more elements of a cultural ritual and using them in a different context for which it was intended.)