Mexican folklore: The Day of the Dead

“We are mortal because we are made out of time and history. But there are instant exits through the culture that are a poetic act, which dissolves time, to escape from history and death. – Octavio Paz.”

The Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead has recently become more popular after a couple movies were released within the past 2 years.

Sadly, movies don’t tell the whole story behind the tradition and just showed us a little part of it.

First of all, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd and recently I’ve seen some posts that mention that the celebration starts even earlier and the rituals and meanings per day go as follows:

  • October 28th – On this day, a white candle is lit along with a white flower to welcome the souls that are alone.
  • October 29th – Another candle is lit along with a glass of water, to honor the forgotten souls.
  • October 30th – A new candle is lit beside a glass of water and white bread for those souls that died in an accident.
  • October 31st – A new candle is lit along with a glass of water, another white bread, and a fruit. This is for our ancestors.
  • November 1st – Better know as “All Saints Day” is the night when the soul of those kids that died come back to visit us. Here is when we put the food in the ofrenda.
  •  November 2nd – Day of the Dead. Is the day where the souls of our loved ones come to visit us.  The Copal is burnt and a path of Cempasuchil petals is left to guide the souls of our loved ones to the ofrenda.
  • November 3rd – The last white candle is lit along with more Copal to say goodbye to the souls of our loved ones and we can eat the food that we used in the ofrenda.

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After all, regardless of how long the celebrations last,  the most important thing is to remember our loved ones because without them, we wouldn’t be here.

If you want to know more about how to build your ofrenda, you can check my post about it here.

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