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In Pictures: Mexico's Day of the Dead
The traditional festival where families visit the graves of their ancestors mixes Aztec and Catholic beliefs.
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2013 13:34
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Every year, Mexicans gather in cemeteries to remember their departed family members. According to tradition, the heavens open on November 1 and 2 and the souls of the dead come back to earth. 

Relatives will offer food, drinks and even toys on alters to entice the souls in a holiday which melds Catholic and Aztec beliefs and imagery. The living and the dead are believed to share the meals together. 

"It is an unique opportunity to meet with your own relatives again and share memories with those who are no longer here," Maria J Andrade, a journalist who has written several books related to the celebration, told Al Jazeera.

Families usually spend November 1 remembering deceased children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels), decorating their gravesites with toys and balloons. November 2 (all Souls' day) is dedicated to those adults who have died.

"This is a celebration, the sadness is there when our relatives died, but during this day we have to show them that we remember them with happiness," Yoroslay Delgado said, describing the celebration. "We dance, we sing, they need to feel they are welcome."

While the day is a national holiday in Mexico, the festival is also celebrated in Brazil, Spain, the Philippines and parts of the US. 

"The Day of the Death is a pre-Hispanic tradition that comes from the indigenous communities, this was celebrated in Mexico and in some other Latin- American countries before the Spanish conquest," Andrade said.

In 2003, UNESCO declared that the Day of the Dead was a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. 

Octavio Paz, one of Latin America's most famous writers, noted: ¨The Mexican… is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates with it...  at least death is not hidden away: he looks at it face to face, with impatience disdain or irony."


/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is one of the most important celebrations in Mexico.



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

It is characterised for being a colorfour celebration and a long-standing part of Mexico's history. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Families visit the graves of their departed loved ones on November 2 in the annual event. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Colorfour flowers, foods, toys, drinks, spices, are placed on grave sites. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Each region has its own unique customs in honouring their dead but the purpose of the event is the same across the country: to welcome relatives' souls, feed them and spend time with them as guests. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Some cemeteries are covered with fresh flowers as part of the festival. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Wafting scents are believed to guide the departed souls to the awaiting banquets.



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Candles illuminate graveyards so the festivities can continue into the night.

 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

The belief that the soul comes back every year to be honoured by relatives is a legacy from ancient civilisations. 



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Maria J Andrade, who was celebrating the festival, said: "It is an unique opportunity to meet with your own relatives again and share memories with those who are no longer here."



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera
People go to the cemetery in search of a reunion with the spirits.


/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Long hours of vigils are spent in the cemetery, creating closeness and dialogue between family and friends.



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

In 2003, UNESCO declared that the Day of the Dead was a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.



/Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Octavio Paz, a literary titan, once wrote that: "The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates with it."




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images:
/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113212682237_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113212854114_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/201311111321310867_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113213182497_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113213370776_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113213557821_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113213714809_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113213995367_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113214276828_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113214573895_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113214870878_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113215120544_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113215386756_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/11/1/2013111113215557480_8.jpg
captions:

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is one of the most important celebrations in Mexico.

;*;

It is characterised for being a colorfour celebration and a long-standing part of Mexico(***)s history. 

;*;

Families visit the graves of their departed loved ones on November 2 in the annual event. 

;*;

Colorfour flowers, foods, toys, drinks, spices, are placed on grave sites. 

;*;

Each region has its own unique customs in honouring their dead but the purpose of the event is the same across the country: to welcome relatives(***) souls, feed them and spend time with them as guests. 

;*;

Some cemeteries are covered with fresh flowers as part of the festival. 

;*;

Wafting scents are believed to guide the departed souls to the awaiting banquets.

;*;

Candles illuminate graveyards so the festivities can continue into the night.

 

;*;

The belief that the soul comes back every year to be honoured by relatives is a legacy from ancient civilisations. 

;*;

Maria J Andrade, who was celebrating the festival, said: "It is an unique opportunity to meet with your own relatives again and share memories with those who are no longer here."

;*;People go to the cemetery in search of a reunion with the spirits. ;*;

Long hours of vigils are spent in the cemetery, creating closeness and dialogue between family and friends.

;*;

In 2003, UNESCO declared that the Day of the Dead was a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

;*;

Octavio Paz, a literary titan, once wrote that: "The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates with it."

Daylife ID:
32e10ee6250654f34985c233e4a0c8c5
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera;*;Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Day of the Deadhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Deathen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Fri, 01 Nov 2013 11:26:16 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/bef4ed147814fe2f1c411ce30262b2f3

The day of the Dead, Dia de los muertos, is by far one of the most important celebrations in Mexico.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/bef4ed147814fe2f1c411ce30262b2f3Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

The day of the Dead, Dia de los muertos, is by far one of the most important celebrations in Mexico.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/0c97a064e216829dee2580d05d8249bb

It is characterised for being a happy colorfour celebration that despite the colonisation, it managed to survive and remain as current as when first observed. Cemetery Santa Marina Trinidad.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/0c97a064e216829dee2580d05d8249bbMisael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

It is characterised for being a happy colorfour celebration that despite the colonisation, it managed to survive and remain as current as when first observed. Cemetery Santa Marina Trinidad.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/c6b30e25bfe12fffa5727364dfe0a8b2

These are the special days when the souls of the deceased ones visit their beloved ones, and enjoy once again the pleasures of life .San Janitzio Island, Michoacan

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/c6b30e25bfe12fffa5727364dfe0a8b2Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

These are the special days when the souls of the deceased ones visit their beloved ones, and enjoy once again the pleasures of life .San Janitzio Island, Michoacan

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/28e1706e01829ac3bc89e6853c6c1181

Mexicans visit the graves of families and friends, adorning them with colorfour flowers, offering foods, toys, drinks, spices, amongst other things. San Janitzio Island, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/28e1706e01829ac3bc89e6853c6c1181Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Mexicans visit the graves of families and friends, adorning them with colorfour flowers, offering foods, toys, drinks, spices, amongst other things. San Janitzio Island, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/4f678c7065c096cd982af5fed00cdfd4

Each region has their own customs in honouring their beloved ones. But the purpose is the same through the country: to welcome relative s souls, feed them and spend time with them as guests. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/4f678c7065c096cd982af5fed00cdfd4Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Each region has their own customs in honouring their beloved ones. But the purpose is the same through the country: to welcome relative s souls, feed them and spend time with them as guests. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/0181458f7361362ce4471d060e86e96a

Some cemeteries are loaded with arches and covered with fresh flowers. The journey of the souls back home is believed to be a pleasant one, as if the souls were on vacations. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/0181458f7361362ce4471d060e86e96aMisael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Some cemeteries are loaded with arches and covered with fresh flowers. The journey of the souls back home is believed to be a pleasant one, as if the souls were on vacations. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/537575c94a419e461de26dacbcf9bac1

Living relatives also welcome them spreading aromatic and colorfour flowers for the souls to follow. The scent is believed to guide them to the place where the banquet awaits. San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/537575c94a419e461de26dacbcf9bac1Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Living relatives also welcome them spreading aromatic and colorfour flowers for the souls to follow. The scent is believed to guide them to the place where the banquet awaits. San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/4bd115d23594555965cc3d6c9a6e9ee7

A variety of candles are also obtained, there should not be darkness during an even of such transcendence. San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/4bd115d23594555965cc3d6c9a6e9ee7Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

A variety of candles are also obtained, there should not be darkness during an even of such transcendence. San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/979cd01788df56f6cdba132f13747f3d

The belief that the soul comes back every year to be honoured by relatives is a legacy from ancient civilizations. San Janitzio , Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/979cd01788df56f6cdba132f13747f3dMisael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

The belief that the soul comes back every year to be honoured by relatives is a legacy from ancient civilizations. San Janitzio , Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/257a56e5c4a724e0ea568bed343b58f1

'It is an unique opportunity to meet with your own relatives again and share memories with those who are no longer here' Maria J. Andrade said .San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/257a56e5c4a724e0ea568bed343b58f1Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

'It is an unique opportunity to meet with your own relatives again and share memories with those who are no longer here' Maria J. Andrade said .San Janitzio, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/9ce7a66aed34402436eae033b5d2c260

People go to the cemetery in search of a reunion with the spirits.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/9ce7a66aed34402436eae033b5d2c260Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

People go to the cemetery in search of a reunion with the spirits.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/3388aa389b5dc5423cf4ff025dae9811

Long hours of vigils are spent in the cemetery, creating closeness and dialogues.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/3388aa389b5dc5423cf4ff025dae9811Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

Long hours of vigils are spent in the cemetery, creating closeness and dialogues.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/6611dcaee1cd0b2255a75f359ea4253d

The day of the dead was declared in 2003 by the UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/6611dcaee1cd0b2255a75f359ea4253dMisael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

The day of the dead was declared in 2003 by the UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Santa Maria Trinidad, Michoacan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/76aba218a47bc60d6803d9900776fbf5

'The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates with it.' Octavio Paz wrote. Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Day_of_the_Death/slideshow/no-caption/76aba218a47bc60d6803d9900776fbf5Misael Valtierra/ Al Jazeera

'The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates with it.' Octavio Paz wrote. Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.



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