Cemeteries are also decorated with ribbons and flowers. Favorite food and drinks are brought to the grave, the tombstones are decorated with fruits, things related to the deceased, photos. Often special flowers are used in decoration - orange marigolds or "flowers of the dead", wich attract the souls of the dead.
Mexicans collect compositions, using portraits, favorite things and food of the dead. As a rule, things personifying 4 elements are used: earth (food and flowers), wind (paper banners), fire (candles) and water.
It is believed that on this day the deceased are allowed to visit their relatives, so candles light the way to the house so that the soul does not get lost.
There are also traditional recipes that are cooked for the holiday, for example, bread of the dead: round loaves with strips of dough on top, imitating bones.
These days there is a carnival, where masks and other symbols and images of Calavera Catrina are used.
On the days of veneration of the dead, it is customary to have fun and rejoice at the return of the dead. The holiday is celebrated for two days: one day is devoted to commemorating the souls of deceased children and infants, on November 2 adults are commemorated.
The history of the holiday
This holiday dates back to the time of the ancient Aztecs, and was a ritual associated with the veneration of the deceased, which was held 2500-3000 years ago. At that time, people really kept the skulls of deceased relatives in their homes as a family heirloom. During the festival, the Aztecs revered the goddess of death - Mictecacihuatl.
We have already mentioned Calavera Catrina, whose image is widely used today during the holiday, as well as the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl. There is also Santa Muerte or a White girl.
Of course, there is a connection between them, but they exist separately from each other.
The goddess Mictlanciuetal, who initiated the ancient cult, the wife of the lord of the underworld (Mictlana) Mictlantecuhtli. His constant companions were a bat, a spider and an owl. In the culture of the ancient Aztecs, owls were considered harbingers of death, many signs were associated with them.
Mictlanciuetal was depicted with a skull instead of a head in a skirt made of rattlesnakes.
The veneration of the dead was very important in the life of the ancient Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that death was not the end, but a transition to a new state, and treated it as an important part of the life cycle, so with the advent of Catholicism, Santa Muerte took the role of Mictlanciuetal.
Santa MuerteHer cult originated in the 17th century is a mixture of Aztec mythology and Catholicism. Interestingly, the cult is widespread today, the number of its adherents is growing. According to legend, people turned to God with a request to grant them death when earthly life became a burden to them, and he sent a girl to them who came for the souls of the dying.
Everyone is equal for her, anyone can turn to her. She protects people who work at night, helps in love and financial affairs. It is even believed that she is able to fulfill desires. The goddess does not condemn anyone in sins, believes that everyone is free to live life as he wants. This made the goddess very popular among the poor and criminals, gradually her cult spread throughout Mexico and came to the United States. The cult is persecuted by the Mexican authorities as satanic, but the followers of Santa Muerte themselves deny the connection of their deity with the devil.
Santa Muerte is depicted as a skeleton in a robe with a covered head. Her clothes are most often white to symbolize innocence, but there may be a different color depending on what request is addressed to her: red helps in love, green helps with the law, yellow or gold helps in finances, blue or purple helps with the other world, black helps in gaining forces.
But most often she is depicted in colorful clothes. This image can be used to solve any problems.
The most popular mask personifying Santa Muerte at the carnival in honor of the Day of the Dead is the image of Calavera Catrina.
La Calavera CatrinaThis image was created in 1913 by the artist Jose Guadalupe Posada in his leaflet "La Calavera Catrina". This picture described a person who was ashamed of their Native origins and dressed imitating the French style while wearing lots of makeup to make their skin look whiter.
This leaflet was supposed to remind the rich that everyone is equal before death. The engraving became very popular, but after the artist's death it was forgotten. The French artist and historian Jean Charlot helped to popularize the image. The painting regained its popularity, the image of La Catrina was often used by artists in different versions.
The most famous was Diego Rivera's painting "Dream of a Sunday afternoon along Central Alameda", which depicts La Catrina wears a Feathered Serpent boa around her shoulders. next to her Posada, Rivera (the artist portrayed himself as a boy), between La Catrina and Rivera - his wife Frida Kahlo.
The painting depicts the main events of the history and sights of Mexico.
Since then, the image of Katrina has been a mandatory attribute of the Day of the Dead holiday, and an important part of Mexican culture. But they started dressing up in it quite recently. Today she often leads the parade for the holiday. Her image is often used in art and cinema. Her masks are widely known around the world. Usually it is a white mask with black eye sockets and a nose, imitating a skull, it is often decorated with a pattern and flowers.
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