November 5, 2019
How is the Day of the Dead celebrated across the globe?
The Day of the Dead is a holiday which has been celebrated in South American cultures for centuries. These cultures honour their dead in the early morning of November 1st. Each country has its own mixture of religious rites and rituals. Now, let’s have a look at how it’s celebrated in many parts of the world:
Mexico is a country which comes to mind when you think of the Day of the Dead. Its roots date back to the pre-Columbian era. The goddess Mictecacíhuatl was responsible for the ancient ritual. She is also known as “Lady Death” and wife of Mictlantecuhtli, the Lord of the Land of the Dead.
Skulls kept as trophies were part of the ritual. Singing and dancing were then performed to respect the deceased. Today, people bring offerings when they visit the graves of their loved ones. It has to be something which the deceased was fond of. The ceremonies attract thousands of people from all over Mexico.
The United States
In San Diego, you can witness the Día de Los Muertos festival in Mexico, without travelling there! Annual celebrations take place in the city’s Old Town. The free-to-attend parade occurs on Saturday only. Participants can tour over 40 ofrendas, admire life-sized skeleton displays, enjoy face painting and Aztec dancing. This takes place in Park Plaza.
San Francisco’s Mission District has also been celebrating the Day of the Dead since the early 1970s. The public is invited to bring candles, mementos of loved ones and flowers to place on ofrendas decorated with Mexican folk art.
People in England can still get their spook on as the Day of the Dead arrives in London. In recent years, the Mexican holiday has become a big hit in the UK. Several parties take place across the country. Complete with delicious tastings and mouth-watering food, Londoners are making the most of it!
For instance, Bourne & Hollingsworth's The Dark Circus Party is an evening of big entertainment. It includes traditional circus acts. Watch out for burlesque dancers, stilt walkers and fire-breathers as you sip on many cocktail creations. Fancy dress is taken very seriously. Plus, skeletal face painting is an option.
Traffic jams and flowers, cloudy skies and candle lights cemetery sadness and the happiness of family reunions. Yes, this is how the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Poland. Preparations for this day start weeks before. All graves must be cleaned up, flowers changed, and leaves taken away.
What’s more important is that trips have to be planned. All of Poland is jammed with traffic around Easter, Christmas and November 1st. The Day of the Dead is an occasion to be together, and it is an important one. They all think about the same person they have loved and lost. Memories are brought up. Some causing tears and some causing laugher.
The Day of the Dead is also celebrated in Spain. But it’s not in the same sense as in Mexico. Spain's version of the holiday is called Día de los Difuntos. This would surprise many people from South America who visit Spain and expect similarities with Mexico.
People in Spain celebrate the Day of the Dead with a mass. They visit their deceased loved one’s graves to clean them and place fresh flowers. It is a day of solemn remembrance. Many Mexican restaurants in Spain have a “Día de los Muertos” theme on that day.