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The Dia de los Muertos in History

In Riviera Maya, we pay tribute to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican tradition celebrated on November 1 and 2 in which the deceased are honored.

Dia de los Muertos-Dia de los Muertos
The celebration of the Dia de los Muertos commemorates those who are no longer among us, having long departed to the other world. You can read our article about this commemoration and today we bring you other curiosities about it.

These celebrations have their origin in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish. The Day of the Dead is actually an amalgamation between the Catholic celebrations of the All Saints Day, the All Souls Day and various customs of the indigenous people of Mexico.

The Teotihuacan people made offerings in honor of the deceased almost all the time, practicing exhausting rituals so that the deceased would arrive safely at one of the four paradises according to the manner of his death. It is said that they buried a Xoloitzcuintle dog to guide him on his way.

Around 1859, decorating graves with flowers and candles became a custom, visiting the pantheons on November 1 and 2: the upper class in the morning and the poor in the afternoon.

In 2008 UNESCO declared the festival as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Mexico. In fact, similar celebrations take place around several corners of South America, such as Buenos Aires, by migrants from the central Andean area, and in Venezuela, it is celebrated by the Kariña people.

In the Mayan region, the states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo, the Mayan name given to the Day of the Dead is Hanal Pixán, which means “Food for souls” (hanal = food, Pixán = soul). This time of the year is also known as “Tiempo de Los Finados” or the time of the dead. This tradition begins on October 31, dedicated to the children who died, November 1 is dedicated to adults, and day November 2 to all the saints.

In this same region, in the town of Pomuch, Campeche, relatives dig up the bones of their deceased, clean them and then wrap them in new and embroidered napkins especially made for the occasion, then placing them back in their tombs and making the traditional offering with food and drinks.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has become known worldwide and is a source of attraction for many foreign travelers who seek to visit Mexico and experience these local traditions or the festivals that derive from them. Its popularity is appreciated in fiction productions that have reached the big screen in films like Once upon a time in Mexico (2003), The Book of Life (2014), Coco (2017), and even in Harry Potter and the Prisoner de Azkaban (2004) where traditional sweets of the Day of the Dead are displayed.

Dia de los Muertos

If you visit the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya resort around these dates, you will surely come across the altars made by the hotels. If you share these beautiful creations, don’t forget to tag our Instagramand Facebook accounts.