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Oct 31, 2019

Mexican Institute Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

Every year, the Mexican Embassy in Belize celebrates the memory of loved ones during the traditional celebration of “Dia de Los Muertos,” which is the day of the dead.  The event is significant in the Mexican culture and features an altar consisting of three levels used to remember loved ones that have passed away. It is a festive and colourful holiday where Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and honour their dead.  This year, the Mexican Embassy is celebrating the memory of visual artist Francisco Toledo and historian Doctor Miguel Lomportilla.  Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute, Diego Sapien shares more about this important tradition in the Mexican culture.

 

Diego Sapien

Diego Sapien, Director, Mexican Cultural Institute

“It is a syncretic celebration; this means that it is a combination of catholic religion and pre-hispanic religion. So, it has become what is celebrated now with the main feature of the celebration being the ‘altar de muertos’ or the ‘ofrende de dia de muertos.’ Mexicans go every first and second November and go to their respective cemeteries and on the wake of the first and second of November, we build an altar for our dead. So, what we do is that we recognize when someone is dead, to come and celebrate with us this day of the dead. Dia del muertos to celebrate their memory. It is a celebration. It is not a mourning occasion.   The altar has three main features that it has to have. The first is the underworld where the dead comes in to the world or where he is in. The mundo terrenal, or our world – it is the second level and then there is heaven which is the main level where the dead are now. So, the altar serves as a doorway or a passageway wherein some of the characteristics is that you have a passage or a camino that normally is depicted by a dog – the dog is the one who accompanies the dead visitor’s family member normally to our houses and then he goes to our world and then goes to heaven and then comes back. Normally, what we Mexicans do is that we put pan de muerto or food or drink that the dead person liked. So, we put the food on the altar and then we eat at our houses or to the cemetery.”

 

The public is invited to visit the Dia de los Muertos display at the Mexican Institute. It opens today and closes until the eighth of November.


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