D�a de los Muertos

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					   El Día de los Muertos began as a pre-Columbian celebration and
    was greatly influenced by the Spanish.
   It is a ritual honoring the dead and has been practiced for nearly
    3,000 years by pre-Hispanic groups such as the ancient Maya,
    Aztec, and Toltec.
   These groups occupied Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
   When the Spaniards arrived, they tried to convert the Aztecs to
    Catholicism, which meant they had to destroy this ritual, but the
    Aztecs refused to let this sacred ritual die.
   In pre-Hispanic times, el Día de los Muertos was celebrated in
    August. When the Spanish could not destroy the holiday, they
    moved it to November 1st (All Saints Day) and November 2nd (All
    Souls Day) to make the ritual more Christian.
   Today it is celebrated more in smaller towns than in the cities.
    This tradition is slowly fading. (Do you think the same thing is
    happening with holidays and traditions in the U.S.?)
 Families go to the cemetery and decorate
  the graves with flowers and altares.
 They build ofrendas in the homes with gifts
  for the deceased.
 Skulls
 Skulls symbolize death and rebirth.
 The Aztecs and Mesoamerican civilizations kept skulls as
  trophies and displayed them during rituals.
 The skulls were also used to honor the dead.

 The skulls are typically grinning because they are laughing
  at death.
 They can be made from paper, wood, paper mache, tin, or
 Calacas
 These are toy figurines for children.

 They are used to introduce the concept of death to
  children so that they are not afraid of it.
   Pan de Muertos
   This bread represents the soul of the departed.
   Sometimes it is in the shape of a skull and can be
    decorated with frosting or seeds. In Oaxaca the seeds
    represent happiness.
   Flowers/Marigolds (Cempasuchil)
   The flowers must be specific colors, orange and
    yellow, and are considered the flowers of the dead.
   The sweet smell and petals, which are used to mark a
    clear path, lure the souls back to homes and altars.
   The orange marigold was the flower that the Aztecs
    used to remember their dead. Its color represents the
    tones of the earth.
   Candles
   Common colors for candles are purple (representing pain),
    white (for hope), and pink (meaning celebration).
   They are usually placed in the four cardinal points, making
    a cross.
   The light of the candle is used to illuminate the way for
    the dead as they return.
   Each candle represents a departed soul.
   Copal
   Originating in pre-Hispanic times, the incense is used to
    attract souls.
   Copal is a special and expensive incense that can be found
    in Puebla.
   The whiter the incense, the better it is considered because
    it lasts longer.
   Food/Fruit and candy
   The altar may be decorated with special foods, candy, or beverages that
    the people enjoyed while they were alive.
   Chocolate may be added, especially in Oaxaca, famous for the mole
    sauce made with chocolate.
   You know that the dead have come back to visit an altar because sodas
    go flat, bread comes hard, and fruits get soft.
   Glass of Water
   A glass of water is set out to refresh the tired soul.
   Masks
   By putting on a mask, a person can become another being, either alive or
   The mask is a ceremonial object used to influence supernatural powers.
   Many indigenous people still depend on masks believing they are needed
    to make the rituals or dance performances effective.
   Masks can be made from wood, tin, cloth, leather, clay, feathers, shells,
    or paper mache.
   Some masks date back to 1000 BC.
 Other  decorations
 Papel Picado: This is tissue paper (or plastic
  today) with cut out holes that create
  pictures or words. They are similar to paper
  snowflakes although the pictures are skulls or
  other appropriate pictures.
 Paintings
 Crosses
 José Guadalupe Posada was a printmaker
  born in Aguascaliente, Mexico in 1852.
 He produced a popular representation of the
  calavera (skull) depicting dead people in
  everyday activities, from street cleaners to
  Emiliano Zapata.
 He also made political statements, showing
  that even the rich and powerful will die.
 This  Dance of the Old Men comes from
 It is performed by young men dressed up as
  old ones.
 Supposedly the dance was dedicated to
  Huehueteotl, the god of fire. This god was
  represented as very old and bent over.
 Some say it was a dance performed as a
  ritual honoring the sun.
 Dancers usually compete in towns of
  Michoacán on the Day of the Dead.
 Fotos

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