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Ancient Day of the Dead traditions live on with Aztec descendants

 

Ancient Day of the Dead traditions live on with Aztec descendants












Ancient Day of the Dead traditions live on with Aztec descendants


MEXICO'S SAN MIGUEL CANOA — One of the most well-known celebrations in Mexico is the Day of the Dead. The holiday, which is observed from October 31 to November 2, remembers departed loved ones and recognizes death as a necessary part of life. According to legend, the deceased are permitted to enter the underworld, or Mictlan, and join their living relatives and friends for a feast.

The Nahua people, the celebration's descendants, continue to uphold the ancient Aztec Indigenous customs which it has its historical origins dating back thousands of years. All Saints' Day is observed on November 1 and All Souls' Day is observed on November 2. The celebration itself is very syncretic, fusing a Mesoamerican worldview of the passage of life and family with Catholic customs.

The holiday has gained popularity in recent years because of movies like James Bond and Disney's "Coco." The Mexican tourism board made the celebrations in cities like Mexico City and Michoacรกn more commercialized by staging lavish parades that drew millions of residents and visitors.


Large Nahua Indigenous villages may be found in the areas close to the towns of Puebla and Tlaxcala around the base of the Malinche volcano. Indigenous communities outside of central Mexico's main cities are where you may find Da de Los Muertos and its traditional rituals.

San Miguel Canoa, a Nahua village 40 minutes from downtown Puebla, is one such instance. There are roughly 45,000 people living in the region, which is surrounded by the spectacular Malinche, Popocatรฉpetl, and Iztaccihuatl stratovolcanoes. Elders here prefer to converse in Nรกhuatl, their native tongue.

Mexico as a whole celebrates the festival, but regional traditions vary. Families of San Miguel Canoa claim that not much has changed with regard to their ancestral festival customs. Even if many customs vary in how they are represented, they still serve the same purpose, which is to honor and greet the dead.

In order to prepare their loved one's favorite foods, such as tamales and mole poblano, families travel to markets on October 30 and 31 to buy fruit, bread, incense, pine needles, marigold flowers, or cempaschil, and other materials. Large orders of pan de Muerto are prepared by Catherine Torres Perez for families to present as offerings to their loved ones on ofrendas or alters.

Traditional sweet bread from Mexico is called pan de Muerto. The crisscross patterns may resemble the bones of the deceased to some people or tears shed in memory of the dead to others. Bread is considered the most fundamental food by the inhabitants of San Miguel Canoa, and it forms part of every offer. Every household, regardless of wealth, places bread on its altar.

Eight months ago, Eduardo and Nancy Sanchez lost their 6-month-old son, Eduardo Jr. The holidays this year are difficult and raw. The parents informed him, "Son, these are your toys — this is your house," while they prepared the altar. Additionally, we included the foods and beverages you enjoyed when you were still with us. They can make amends for their anguish over his passing on this year's Dia de Los Muertos.


There are two days set aside for worship during the commemoration of the dead. In Day of the Dead ceremonies, children are honored on November 1 in accordance with the Catholic festival of All Saints' Day, while on November 2 (All Souls' Day), adults such as parents and grandparents are remembered.

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