Dias de Los Muertos.
The Day of the Day is a Mexican holiday.
And, no, it’s not Halloween, assumed by many.
There are two ways of celebrating and being a part of this amazing celebration.
One, see the public parades taking place throughout Mexico on November 2.
Two, go into the hinterlands of Mexico – small villages – and be a part of it, the night before the November 2 celebrations – one of the most memorable, touching, soul searing events we ever have experienced.
The reason for a small village visit is simple – watching the public parades can be a chore. Those endless throngs of tourists make it difficult to enjoy yourself, hawkers trying to sell you something are everywhere.
So what exactly is Dias de Los Muertos?
It’s a Mexican celebration where families welcome back the souls of their dead relatives for a short time – offering them their favourite food and drink at their grave site.
The celebration is an amalgam of Mesoamerican ritual, Spanish and European culture.
The mythology of the Day of the Dead is that the border between the spirit world and the real world dissolve into one.
At that time the souls of the dead awaken and return to the living world to feast, drink, dance, with their loved ones.
It is the loved ones that treat the deceased as guests of honour by leaving their favourite food and drink.
Graveside vigils are held starting at dark till the next morning when the fun and celebrations start.
The graveyard scenes touch your soul, your inner being – peasants sitting at the grave of a deceased, their faces deeply lined from hard work, the trials and tribulations of life evident, stoic about what they seeing, coupled with serenity and resolve, mothers with their small children, attentive to the gravestone before them, candles ranging from one to six feet illuminating the surrounding scene, flickering silently, bottles of tequila, dishes filled with the favourite foods of the deceased.
A vigil lasting all night – till dawn of the next day.
A vigil etched forever in your soul.