Day of the dead
~ By Kristel
It is well known that Mexico is famous because of its beautiful cultural heritage. Not only the traditional and delicious food that characterize the country or the amazing paradises surrounded by two oceans, but their artistic traditions that have captivated attention around the world. Before coming to Mexico I knew some basic things like the tacos, mariachi and tequila. Even though I come from a brother country, Guatemala, the way of actually appreciating Mexican culture is visiting and experiencing the local traditions.
Day of the dead is one of the most important traditions in Mexico. They celebrate this day by preparing altars full of the dead flowers, zempasúchil, for their loved ones. In the altars they put the picture of the their family member who has passed and surround it with all the things that person enjoyed when he or she was alive, especially their favorite food. This is a very spiritual tradition; it has many elements that unify families and friends and touch a very sensitive element like death. What I most enjoyed about this tradition was the fact that for Mexican death it’s motive for celebration and unity. For this day, they decorate, unify the whole family, cook traditional dishes and celebrate those who are gone, but they also celebrate life. This year I got the chance to get involved with the schools, families and children who showed me the importance of these traditions. I celebrated and shared their happiness and excitement with them, and it was an absolutely enriching experience.
Besides enjoying seeing the students’ Halloween costumes and watching the expression on their faces when they saw me in a Catrina costume, I think the most important thing this tradition left in me is a feeling that made me appreciate and contemplate the fact that every day we should celebrate being alive and to appreciate the little things. I appreciate the blessings that this experience has brought in my life.