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Oct 30, 2003

Altar honours the dead

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While some of you may be putting last minute touches on your Halloween costumes, the people at the Mexican Institute have already completed their annual tradition, creating an altar to honour those no longer with us for… El Dia de Los Muertos.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Imagine once a year sitting down and having a drink or meal with a deceased relative or friend. What a thrilling meeting that would be! However, I am not sure if any of us would stick around long enough for the candles to go out; but the interaction between the living and the dead is very much a part of an old Mexican tradition called The Altar of Dead.

Arturo Trejo, Mexican Ambassador to Belize

“People remember their dead relatives or dead friends, put some objects that they like and remember them, put some food that they use to like and the candles should show the way to the dead person who would on this day come back and participate in the ceremony with their relatives or friends. And the candle would show the way to the altar where he should find his favourite food or favourite drink.”

Mexican Ambassador to Belize Arturo Trejo says he has not yet had such a meeting, but there are stories that some dead relatives and friends have actually celebrated the occasion, believe it or not

Arturo Trejo

“Some people do say that they have been visited by their dead relatives and many people go to the cemeteries on the first and second of November to visit their dead relatives and they do bring some food or drinks. A groups of friends and relatives gather around the grave and sing, sometimes they even bring a group of mariachis singing the songs that the persons use to like.”

I can’t promise you that you will see any spirits, but presently there is an Altar of the Dead on display at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Belize City.

Arturo Trejo

“Fortunately, this very vivid, colourful tradition that we have in Mexico is not disappearing, but is being kept alive. So we now in the Embassy of Mexico and the institute are happy to be able to present one more year. This time it was prepared by some members of the staff of the embassy and some Mexican women who live here in Belize. They have organised that with a big effort, and so we are happy that we can show it to the Belizean public as one of the main colourful traditions of Mexico.”

The exhibit is open to the general public until November fifth.

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