The Day of the Death
by: Othon Gonzales
The origin of the day of the deads is very ancient; Mayan and Aztecs used to celebrate it 3000 years ago in the 9th month of their calendar (around August)
and it was dedicated to ” Mictecuacihuatl”, goddess of the death.
They believed that the souls headed in different ways as a consequence of the type of death the person had, and they used to collect the skulls of their
believed ones, which were set on an altar to honor them.
After the conquest, the Spaniards prohibited to do that, so they changed throughout the years the original skulls for some others made of sugar.
These days, many Mexican families make an altar the 1st of November to honor one of their ancestors, by hanging his or her photograph off the wall and cook the kind of meal he or she used to eat, so his or her favorite drinks and set an altar with Zempaxúchitl flowers (orange color ones that you can find at the central market that day) and of course ” bread of the deads” you can buy at any bakery in town.
Then, they invite relatives and friends the 2nd of November (that’s the day of the deads) to party and eat and drink everything on the altar in memory of the man or the woman in the photo.
We believe that the only thing for sure is going to happen to everybody is that all of us are going to die someday, so it’s a tradition to give the guests sugar skulls with their name on the forehead meaning that, when their time to pass away comes, we wish it’s sweet.
So, just do it!… you’re going to have fun!
Photo tip: This holiday is also a great opportunity to take pictures since all the decorations are very colorful and extraordinary.
The museum in Cozumel will set up a big altar – and to capture this unique cultural celebration you might want to consider to change your camera settings to a saturated picture style (vivid or faithful colors).