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Mexico is full of traditions, but there's none more compelling and fascinating as Day of the Dead. Every November 2nd, people get reunited in graveyards and offer gifts in altars to those who are no longer with us. The origin of Day of the Dead goes back more than 3,000 years. It's one of the most antique and representative traditions in Mexico, and to celebrate it, we give you 5 facts you probably don't know about this day.
It Has Nothing to Do with Halloween
Day of the Dead celebrates death as an opportunity to remember and pay tribute to the deceased. Halloween, on the other hand, has more to do with the fear of supernatural creatures. There's no fear involved in Day of the Dead, as it is all about joy and honor for the dead. Even the traditional skulls that are everywhere this day seem to be smiling. And speaking about skulls…
The Meaning of the Skulls
The origin of this tradition comes from the prehispanic era when skulls were kept as trophies. There are skulls called "catrinas", and people dress like them in Day of the Dead. The origin of the catrina comes from the Aztec tale of Mictecacihuatl, Lady of the Dead. According to the tale, she was born and then sacrificed as an infant, and now her role is to watch over the bones of the dead. There are more myths about the origin of the catrinas, but Mictecacihuat is one of our favorites.
It Is Declared As an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO
On 2008, it was inscribed to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In UNESCO's own words:
"The Day of the Dead celebration holds great significance in the life of Mexico’s indigenous communities. The fusion of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Catholic feasts brings together two universes, one marked by indigenous belief systems, the other by worldviews introduced by the Europeans in the sixteenth century"
Disney Tried to Trademark Day of the Dead
Yes, it's true. On 2013, Disney filed an application to secure the phrase "Día de los Muertos" and "Day of the Dead," across multiple platforms. It was because Disney subsidiary Pixar was making a film about this celebration. Anyway, Mexican community protested when they heard about it, and pulled back the application. The reason why the Mexican community protested was because the celebration was too important, and you cannot trademark a tradition like that.
It Is Celebrated in Another Countries Besides Mexico
Day of the Dead is also celebrated in South American countries like Guatemala, Brazil, and Spain. Also, with so many Mexicans and Mexicans Americans in the US, the celebration is becoming popular. This day also has a presence in many movies and tv shows, like Macario - first Mexican movie ever to be nominated to the Oscar - or the next James Bond film, Spectre. It's a fascinating holiday, so it's no strange that its popularity is increasing.
Now you have five interesting things to say in your next talk about Day of the Dead. Here in Los Algodones, Mexico, every year an altar contest is made honoring this day. People reunite and put all their efforts to make the best altar possible. If you are around on this Day of the Dead, don't forget to take a look at it. Also, we invite you to visit one of our dental clinics. Sani Dental Group is the largest dental group in Los Algodones, with the most qualified dentists and the best service. Give us a call and our patient coordinators will provide you all the information you need.
Let us take care of your smile, we work hard to make of your dental treatment the best experience. You have nothing to worry about: smile, we'll do the rest.