Why the Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos

Why the Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos

Nov 01, 2020

Why is the Day of the Dead so loved and popular? Mexicans celebrate it and foreigners adore it. Recently it helped that the film Coco portrayed this holiday. I know because my girlfriend Kym from Australia has fallen in love with the holiday after seeing that movie. The party of November 1 and 2 has become popular and even commercialized.

The Day of the Dead is a festival in which people who have already passed away areremembered and celebrated. Offerings are made to them - all those things that the deceased enjoyed in life are available. Those of us who are alive take advantage of it to drink and eat (namely pan de muerto - bread of the dead, like in the photo. It is sweet bread with bone like shapes on the top and it is only available for 3 weeks every year). The living have lit candles so that the dead can find their way. It is a time of the year when the living and the dead come together. Cemeteries, houses, schools, offices or sidewalks. We celebrate the Day of the Dead wherever possible.

But everything goes beyond a celebration. I mean, why do we like to celebrate it? Why do we celebrate it in Mexico?

To understand the holiday, we must understand what the Mexican is like, and Octavio Paz did very well with El Laberinto de la Soledad, an essay with which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Paz explains it very well. First he tells us that to understand the Day of the Dead we must separate it into Two: in the party and in death.

The Mexican loves parties and public meetings, says Paz, we take advantage of any pretext to get together - all the celebrations that exist in the country because of holidays or holy days, offered by both the Republic and the church.

"Our calendar is full of parties", he wrote.

We like parties because we are a poor country. He wrote that rich countries have few parties, because there is no time or humor, and that they are not necessary, because people have other things to do, and when they are having fun they do it in small groups. In New York or Paris, for example, when the public congregates in squares or stadiums, the absence of the people is notable, couples and groups are seen, never a community.

But the poor Mexican, how can he live without his parties that make up for his misery? parties are our only luxury. During the festivities the Mexican unloads his soul.

Thanks to the Holidays, the Mexican opens up, participates, communes with his fellow men and with the values ​​that give meaning to his religious or political existence. And it is significant that a country as sad as ours has so many happy parties.

And then comes death. The one that represents the Mexican, the one that illuminates our life. If our death is meaningless, neither did our life, said Paz. That is why you have to die as you live.

Death, from before, was not the natural end of life. It was the continuation of the cycle. Life, death and resurrection. Religion and beliefs.

But in modernity, Paz tells us, death has lacked significance, but this insignificance of death does not lead us to eliminate it from our daily life.

"For the inhabitant of New York, Paris or London, death is the word that is never pronounced because it burns the lips. The Mexican, on the other hand, frequents it, mocks it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it, it is one of his favorite toys and his most permanent love. "

And perhaps there is as much fear as in the others, but the Mexican faces death, he does not hide it, nor does he hide, ironic and contemplates it face to face with impatience "if they have to kill me tomorrow, let them kill me once".

The contempt for death is not at odds with the worship that we profess to her, says Paz, She is present at our parties, in our games, in our loves and in our thoughts.

We celebrate death with sugar skulls, paper decorations, breads that pretend to be bones, and we even make jokes and rhymes with death.

The Mexican flatters death, celebrates it, cultivates it, embraces it, definitely and forever, says Paz, but does not surrender.

So what can we land on it?

That the Mexican, who needs parties, made one even for death.

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