The Day That Death Died
The Day That Death Died
Often called the Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos, this celebration is an opportunity to remember the people who have passed on. This is a time to honor the deceased by decorating the grave site and bringing food and offerings for them. This is also a time to honor the memory of a loved one and celebrate their life.
The Day of the Dead has its roots in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Aztec festival of the dead. Throughout history, it has been celebrated by indigenous and Spanish cultures. In Mexico, the celebration is still popular in rural areas. Today, it is also a popular event in cities throughout the United States.
The ancient pagan rituals of the dead included feasting, dancing and bonfires. These traditions survived even after the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. Nowadays, it is a more modern holiday. Families decorate the grave sites of their departed loved ones with flowers, candles, and favorite foods. These items are meant to bring the departed closer to their loved ones.
Some people believe that the souls of the departed return to earth. Those who are unsure of the concept may be surprised to hear that some communities actually practice this belief. The idea is that the departed spirits are reunited with their families for a day. This celebration is an opportunity for families to spend quality time together. It is also a way to teach children about the circle of life and the importance of respecting the short span of life.
The tradition of the Day of the Dead is said to have 3,000 years of roots. The first documented mention of it took place during the Aztec festival of the dead. During this time, it was believed that a deceased person would travel to Chicunamictlan, or the Land of the Dead. There, they would be protected by the mystical Mictlancihuatl. This was a nine-level journey that lasted several years.
The modern Day of the Dead draws on these ancient customs and the European Catholic traditions. It originated in rural areas of Mexico and continues to grow in popularity in the United States. In fact, UNESCO recognized the Day of the Dead as a global intangible cultural heritage in 2008.
The most popular symbol of the Day of the Dead is the calavera, or sugar skull. The sugar skull is a recognizable symbol that is often depicted on altars. Other symbols include the calaca, or skull that is painted or carved, the tulip, or hummingbird, and the qiyamat, or sign of the resurrection. A qiyamat is a symbol of the day that death will be defeated.
The qiyamat, or sign of a resurrection, is an important part of the Day of the Dead. It is thought to be the most important part of the celebration. It is an indication of the day that the end of the old order will come. When it does, the pains of the grave will no longer be feared.