Why Day of the Dead is not a Mexican version of Halloween.

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Andrew BellEnglisch
23. Oktober 2018
96
3 Minuten
I’ve been living in Mexico for over a year now, and I’m very fortunate to be about to experience Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) for the second time. However, I’ve been asked by many of my British friends if Day of the Dead is just a Mexican version of Halloween. The simple answer is no. Day of the Dead is an integral part of Mexican culture, and has its origins in the pre-Columbian cultures that were present in Mexico many centuries ago. Most people are aware of this Mexican holiday thanks to the James Bond franchise, where Daniel Craig is seen running through a parade for Day of the Dead in Mexico City. But, did you know this parade was actually only invented for Spectre, before this film was released, a parade in Mexico City for Day of the Dead was unheard of. But, the year following the release of the film, many people came to Mexico City to see the parade, so ever since then the Mexicans have put on this parade for the foreigners. So if originally there was no parade for Day of the Dead, how did Mexicans celebrate it? And what were they celebrating?

Well, Day of the Dead is actually a religious celebration. Technically, the actual Day of the Dead is 2nd November; however over the years, the tradition has evolved to also include 31st October and 1st November as well. 1st November is referred to as Dia de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels), and is the day when Mexicans honour all the children who have died. 2nd November is Día de los difuntos (Day of the Dead), and is the day when families honour the adults they have lost. It is believed that on these days, the souls of the deceased return to earth to be with their families and loved ones. To honour the dead as they return to Earth, families build huge ofrendas (shrines) for them. If anyone has seen the film Coco, they will have a vague idea of what I mean. These shrines include photographs, the deceased’s favourite food and drink, pan de meurto (a sweet bread typical of this holiday) and flor de muerto (flower of the dead). Mexicans leave a trail of flor de muerto from their front doors to the shrines they have built for their loved ones in their homes. It is believed that the flowers will help guide the dead to the shrines. The day after Day of the Dead, they say that food in the shrine has lost all its aroma and flavour, because the dead feed on the aroma as they are unable to physically eat it. Throughout Mexico, costumes, body paint, and imagery of skulls and bones are also often used as important symbols to honour the dead during this holiday.

It is important to note that the celebrations for this holiday, especially for Día de los Angelitos and Dia de los Muertos, vary widely throughout the different regions of Mexico. What I explained above is what I have experienced during Day of the Dead. But, in some areas of Mexico, the cemetery plays a bigger role than the home in the celebrations.
I have only ever experienced the celebrations that take place in people’s homes, and I would like to elaborate on this. Last year, I was very fortunate to be able to visit the small town of Huaquechula, in the state of Puebla. During the celebrations, the locals open up their houses to the public so that everyone can admire their ofrendas. These ofrendas are very extravagant and take up entire rooms of the house. Pictures do not do these ofrendas justice, and I would highly recommend a visit to the town to witness this celebration first hand. Speaking to the families about their loved ones, and seeing how much time and dedication it took them to build their ofrendas, is a truly humbling experience.

I’ve also been told that the celebrations for Day of the Dead in Oaxaca and Michoacán are some of the best in the country. I’ve not been able to visit these states during Day of the Dead before, but fingers crossed that I’ll be able to visit one of them this year!
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Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
Neu!
Englisch
Muttersprachler
,
Spanisch
C2
,
Katalanisch
B1
,
Französisch
A2
Hey everyone! I’m Andrew and I’m an English teacher from England, but I'm working in Mexico. I’ve been teaching English as a foreign language for over a year now, and I have professional experience working with secondary school pupils (aged: 11-14); college students (aged: 15-18), and in a university (adults aged 18+). I’ve taught students with a variety of language levels, from very basic levels and understandings of English, to intermediate and advanced levels. My main experience is teaching English as a foreign language to Mexicans, something which I have been able to do successfully as I speak Spanish fluently, but I can also speak conversational Catalan and I’m learning French. Hence, I understand some the frustrations that come with learning a foreign language. In my classes, I can help students improve their pronunciation and grammar, as well as their speaking, reading, listening and writing abilities. I can also teach students about British culture if they are interested. I like to teach English via conversations as this is what helped me learn Spanish and Catalan. However, if students prefer a more traditional style to teaching, this is something that we can discuss. I’m also able to offer translation lessons between English and Spanish, as this is something I studied and practiced at university, and I also offer essay corrections. During the classes I will take notes on what the students' say so they can relax and just focus on speaking. At the end of the lesson I will send them my notes with any corrections or advice, with regards to their pronunciation or use of grammar, that I think will help improve their learning. I like to tailor my classes to the students' individual needs, so feel free to send me a message when you book, to inform me about your language level, your language learning goals and anything else you think I should know. This way, we can successfully make a lesson plan, so that you benefit as much as possible from the classes, and so that we focus on the aspects of English that you wish to improve.
Flag
Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
Neu!
Englisch
Muttersprachler
,
Spanisch
C2
,
Katalanisch
B1
,
Französisch
A2
Hey everyone! I’m Andrew and I’m an English teacher from England, but I'm working in Mexico. I’ve been teaching English as a foreign language for over a year now, and I have professional experience working with secondary school pupils (aged: 11-14); college students (aged: 15-18), and in a university (adults aged 18+). I’ve taught students with a variety of language levels, from very basic levels and understandings of English, to intermediate and advanced levels. My main experience is teaching English as a foreign language to Mexicans, something which I have been able to do successfully as I speak Spanish fluently, but I can also speak conversational Catalan and I’m learning French. Hence, I understand some the frustrations that come with learning a foreign language. In my classes, I can help students improve their pronunciation and grammar, as well as their speaking, reading, listening and writing abilities. I can also teach students about British culture if they are interested. I like to teach English via conversations as this is what helped me learn Spanish and Catalan. However, if students prefer a more traditional style to teaching, this is something that we can discuss. I’m also able to offer translation lessons between English and Spanish, as this is something I studied and practiced at university, and I also offer essay corrections. During the classes I will take notes on what the students' say so they can relax and just focus on speaking. At the end of the lesson I will send them my notes with any corrections or advice, with regards to their pronunciation or use of grammar, that I think will help improve their learning. I like to tailor my classes to the students' individual needs, so feel free to send me a message when you book, to inform me about your language level, your language learning goals and anything else you think I should know. This way, we can successfully make a lesson plan, so that you benefit as much as possible from the classes, and so that we focus on the aspects of English that you wish to improve.

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