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Day of the Dead

By staceylockman May 05, 2013 456 Words
The day of the dead is an ancient ritual. It has been a holiday for over 500 years. It is a national holiday which has combined the Mexican ancient ritual with the Spanish-Catholic "All Souls Day", which the Spanish conquistadores celebrated during the religious conversion of the local Mexican native Indians. Today, day of the dead is celebrated throughout Latin America, as an official Catholic holiday.

The day of the dead dates back to approximately 3500 B.C. This celebration initially took place during the months of July and August but, they changed the date to November 2nd. Spanish conquistadors also called it "Day of all Saints". In modern days though, the celebration takes place during the last days of October culminating in the official day of the dead on November 2nd. In America we celebrate our own day of the dead on October 31st known as Halloween. They adore their ancestors on this day with their pictures surrounding them. Marigolds are considered the Flower of the Dead, the deceased's favorite foods and drinks (including alcoholic beverages), cigars - if the deceased smoked such while living. The temple is also adorned with sugar skulls which are purchased in supermarkets and street markets.

On November 2nd the relatives take all of these items to the cemetery to leave for the deceased "to enjoy". The relatives also pray and even tell funny stories about the deceased. This is all in the effort to bring the soul closer to them. Due to the fact that this is a Latin American holiday the day of the dead is celebrated from Mexico to the southernmost tip of South America. Different countries celebrate their day of the dead in different ways, as they also vary from town to town in Mexico. In Guatemala they celebrate the day of the dead by flying giant kites. The Haitians play loud music all night long. The Bolivians celebrate their day of the dead on November 9th, and refer to it as "Day of the Skulls" which is garnished with a crown of flowers. The Bolivians pray protection, provided by their dead, during the coming year. Also skeletons are everywhere, from tissue-paper scenes to little toys, or puppets made from cardboard and plastic. Even ceramic sculptures, from posters to paper Mache skulls too.

Panama celebrates the day of the dead with the equivalent of a National Day of Mourning, where no alcohol is served or sold to the public, until after midnight of November 2nd.

In other countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Ireland, with a Roman Catholic influence the day of the dead is celebrated by visiting relative's graves, praying and placing fresh flowers on their ancestor’s graves.

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