Mexican Day of the Dead Customs Originated in Mesoamerica While Blended with Catholicism

Day of the Dead in Mexico

Mexican[Day of the Dead Dia de los muertos]was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.Michoacan cuisine and mariachi are also registered as intangible cultural heritage.Mexico is more than just pyramids and beaches! (smile)

Mexican Day of the Dead has many similarities to Japanese Obon customs in that families gather to visit graves.This is because the faith and custom of believing that "death = autumn harvest" that existed before Spanish colonization gave rise to new "life = spring sprouting" was brought to Europe by the Spanish. It is a fusion of culture.

Before the introduction of Spanish culture in 1521, people had their own calendars linked to the harvest times of crops.The end of the calendar, that is, the harvest = "death" is the current October.In Catholic culture, November 10st is All Saints Day, while in Mexico it is the Day of the Child of the Dead. November 11nd is "Day of the Dead" and in Mexico we celebrate the "adult dead".The Spaniards adapted the customs of the Mesoamerican period to the Catholic calendar, and Mexico celebrated the Day of the Dead around this time.

is celebrated asFurthermore, in some regions, October 10th is the day of the dead for those who died in accidents and disasters, and October 28th is the day of the dead for unbaptized children.

In general, an altar is built in the house so that the deceased can reach their former home without hesitation. and put it on the altar, with candles and orange blossoms.Cempasúchillined up to create a path and welcome the soul.However, the marigold trail is said to have started in the colonial era...

Traditionally, families go to the grave on November 11st to clean it up and lay flowers.Afterwards, they eat and drink on the spot, and although it depends on the area, they sometimes sing with live music such as mariachi, and spend a brief night with the dead.It's like a festival.Yes, this is the only day to enjoy not with the deceased, but with the deceased who has come back to life.

Of course, this custom has been handed down from generation to generation, but another reason is that it is believed that how you welcome the deceased and spend time with them on this day will determine whether prosperity or misfortune will be brought. I'm here.

After the dead return to the other world, the offerings on the altar are eaten deliciously by the gathered families, marking the end of the Day of the Dead.

By the way, Oaxaca is famous for the Day of the Dead custom, but the original origin of the modern version of the Day of the Dead originated around Patzcuaro, Michoacán.Beginning with the support of President Lazaro Cardenas at the time, the custom of Patzcuaro's Day of the Dead has been passed down throughout Mexico as a "model" to this day.


[Day of the Dead] is profound

modern mexican"Day of the Dead Dia de los muertos"When considering , you need to understand a little bit of Mexico's history.However, it is not easy to unravel the culture and history that are the roots of today's Mexico.Mexico as we see it today is a fusion of three different cultures.

One example is Tlatelolco, which is introduced in Japanese as ``Three Cultural Plazas'' in guidebooks. The second is the Spanish colonial period that lasted for 1521 years, and the third is the culture after independence from Spain after 300, that is, after Mexico became a country.

The period before Spanish colonization Mesoamerica, the famous Maya and Mexica (Aztec), Teotihuacan, Prepecha, Mistecá, Totonaca, Zapotec, Tlaxcaltec, and many other ethnic groups and tribes. existed.These different cultures were destroyed in the name of Spanish missionary work, forcing a radical change in the identity of the people of the time.For the people of that time, it was as if heaven and earth were reversed.Even if you take only this, you can see how difficult it is to think about where the roots of modern Mexico are.

Modern Mexicans have no particular animosity towards lost things or the Spaniards, but at this time of the era, the harvest of maize, the staple food, and symbol of the birth of new life. Some of the customs of honoring the "dead" have been passed down from generation to generation for at least 500 years, albeit in different forms.


[Day of the Dead] and Halloween are different things

In recent years, more and more films have been made about Mexico. 007Spectre, Coco (Remember Me), and Roma.

I think that many people in Japan think of Halloween as a costume parade.Some customers say, "I want to go to the costume parade!"Of course, it's a good thing to enjoy each local culture on your overseas trip.On the other hand, don't forget to know the background of each.that way,Day of the dead in Mexico is not the same as HalloweenYou can see that.

We will show you where to appear in 007 Specter

If you are interested in movies, we can also guide you to movie shooting spots.For example, a scene like this from 007 Specter.


Identity of skeleton

Costume parades and the like have become popular with tourists, especially after 007 Specter, and are not traditional events.Originally, while I was a Mexican living in Mexico, I started painting after knowing that the satirical Calavera Galvancera (skeletal woman), who criticized and mocked the people who started to pretend to be European and their government, was the origin. I don't think there are many people who do.


Be polite when visiting a cemetery

In recent years, many foreign tourists, especially Oaxaca, have come to see this day of the dead.It is very important for people to see Mexican culture, but I have seen foreigners who do not know the circumstances misunderstand it as Halloween and make a lot of noise at graves with alcohol in their hands. increase.

The cemetery is for the people of the area, and it is not originally a tourist spot.I am borrowing it only for this period to see their traditions and customs.If you drink and make a fuss at a Japanese cemetery, the first thing you'll probably think is that it's impolite.


I will take you to Oaxaca and Michoacan

This is a busy time, so please contact us with plenty of time to spare.

My attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis (in order of payment), but my Mexican guide will guide you in English after that.

Please be assured that I will handle the preparations and planning until then in Japanese.


Photo gallery

Guide to Michoacán's Day of the Dead, the setting for the movie Remember Me (COCO)

A family at a private altar and cemetery in Mexico City

Altar archetypes and Day of the Dead flowers

* Expressways may be crowded during consecutive holidays, and the travel time may be longer.please note that.


Recommended for these people!

  • Those who want to feel the “true face of Mexico”
  • Those who want to change the time of "moving" to the time of "discovery"
  • Those who are unsatisfied with general tours
  • Female travel
  • Those who want to make a special trip to Mexico
  • People who like culture and nature
  • Elderly people and people with physical disabilities who want to fully enjoy Mexico
  • Old and young men and women spending time in agony
  • Commemorative trip with a small number of people (graduation trip, birthday, wedding anniversary, XNUMXth birthday celebration, filial piety, etc.)

Of course, people other than the above people are also very welcome!