If you read Part 1 of our Day of the Dead series then you will know that this is a time of celebration in Mexico, when families get together to remember their lost loved ones in the form of parties, festivals and intimate celebrations.
It is widely believed that at midnight on October 31st, also known as All Saint’s Eve and of course, Halloween, the gates of Heaven are opened and for the next 24 hours, the spirits of dearly departed children are allowed to come back down to earth to reconnect with their families. This is the time when families will stay up through the night awaiting the arrival of the spirits. As the sun rises on the 1st November, folks continue to prepare the festivities ready for the following evening when it is said that the adult spirits will be released from Heaven for a following 24 hours at midnight, when they will also return to earth and enjoy all that has been laid out for them. In the day there are also competitions involving popular sugar skulls made using molds that are decades old. This competition involves decorating the skulls in a fun and creative way. Italian missionaries first introduced sugar art to the country in the 17th century, as an alternative to buying expensive figurines. As well as traditional sugar skulls, chocolate sugar skulls are also available to buy, which are very popular with everyone especially the kids.
As you can probably tell from this belief, there is a lot of love for the departed, with people spending hours upon hours preparing special festivities. For those who don’t believe, the celebrations still bring a certain type of satisfaction that they are not forgetting the dead and that even they will be remembered when they are gone. The celebrations even continue in the local graveyards, which is one of the final parts of the Day of the Dead. During this time, families spend the afternoon of November 2nd decorating graves and cleaning the head stones to make them look as good as new.
If you have experienced the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico or anywhere else, please share your experience with us through our Facebook page with any photos that you may have taken. If this is something you would like to experience, why not book one of our holidays 2015 ready for next year and experience it for yourself.