“The day of the dead of mexico”

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“The day of the dead of mexico”

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

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The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is similar to other culture’s observances of a time to honor the dead. The Spanish tradition included festivals and parades, as well as gatherings of families at cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day.

A sculpture of "La Catrina,"  a symbol representing death or the skull in Mexican folklore, is displayed during celebrations for the Day of the Dead at Mexico City's Zocalo Square on October 30, 2008.    AFP PHOTO/Luis Acosta (Photo credit should read LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico developed from ancient traditions among its pre-Columbian cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. The festival that developed into the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern La Calavera Catrina.

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By the late 20th century in most regions of Mexico, practices had developed to honor dead children and infants on November 1, and to honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also asDía de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).

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n October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.

Women dressed as iconic Mexican "Catrinas" gather in an attempt to set a record for the most Catrinas in one place during Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. The figure of a skeleton wearing an elegant broad-brimmed hat was first done as a satirical engraving by artist Jose Guadalupe Posada sometime between 1910 and his death in 1913. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

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