The Day of the Dead is celebrated all over the world in different ways, but Mexico has managed to make this festivity the most joyful and endearing way to remember that someone we all lost once. Perhaps, it’s because of their culture, their customs, their way of seeing life and their way of facing death with music, food and endless colors.
Every second of November families all over Mexico commemorate those who have lost with the feast of the Day of the Dead. Mexicans have the beautiful belief that on that day the souls of loved ones who have left return home. Streets throughout Mexico are filled with traditional Mexican music, garlands of colorful papers, flowers, skull costumes and families visiting cemeteries. There they place candles around the graves of their loved ones to light their way home, a path filled with orange petals of sempazúchil flowers that also serve as a guide.
Some families even spend the night in the cemeteries which, during this time, are open all day and all night. The atmosphere takes on a magical color, it’s not a sad night but a time to celebrate the return of souls to the world of the living, so many families hire mariachis to play the favorite songs of their longed-for deceased. And we know that music makes hearts happy!
What is remembered lives forever
In their homes, Mexican families gather to eat the famous “bon bread” and sweet skulls, as well as to enjoy the union of the family -very important in Mexico-. They also place seven-level altars with offerings such as skulls, sempazúchil flowers, salt and copal as a sign of purification, fruits and candles for each deceased. And finally, they add photos of deceased family members or friends they remember so fondly.
In Mexico, they have the precious belief that the loved ones you’ve lost will never leave as long as you keep remembering them. Therefore, it is said that if no one has remembered to put your photo on the altar, your soul will not be able to return home on the Day of the Dead. So some Mexicans place an extra candle so that these “forgotten” souls can make their way back to theirs without getting lost.
A magical night heritage of humanity
In 2008, UNESCO declared this festival as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity because of its tradition and culture; but, above all, because of the message that this night implies for the rest of humanity: nobody leaves as long as you keep remembering it.
The memory of those whom we loved endures forever in the heart of the one who remembers, but also in the heart of the one who is remembered. His anecdotes, his advice and his smiles are something intangible and we know that the intangible is not extinguished, it does not go away, but remains in the memory of anyone who is willing not to forget. Perhaps that is the reason why love for our parents, our brothers or our friends always endures in time despite the passing of years!
Coco, a film to remember
Less than a year ago, the film Coco swept the box office of the entire world and managed to find a place in the hearts of all its viewers – kids and adults. For the first time Disney Pixar paid tribute to the culture, music and importance of the family in Mexico! And it does so through the story of Miguel, a Mexican boy who wants to be a musician in the face of opposition from his family, who has denied music since his great-great-grandfather abandoned them for it. And from a simple story for kids on the Day of the Dead it turned out to be an original and endearing movie that thrilled the adults.
These are five life lessons that Coco left us!
1. Respect his/her passion:
The engine of every good dream is always passion. Passion is what moves us and, above all, what makes us happy. The sparkle in the eyes of someone who is passionate about what they do is unmistakable! That’s why we have to respect the passions of our loved ones and understand that they don’t have to be the same as ours. In Miguel’s case, his entire family had traditionally been a shoemaker, but you won’t see Miguel smiling the same way throughout the film as when he plays the guitar.
“When life hits me, I play my guitar.” – Coco Movie
2. Our values are the ones that will guide us:
The end does not justify the means! And the best way to ensure that we are doing well in achieving our dreams is to follow our values. They will always guide us on the right path. There is no better compass on life’s way!
“The rest of the world obeys rules, but I obey my heart.” – Coco Movie
3. To know how to rectify is to grow:
The film speaks of firmly established prejudices in different family characters. However, we can all rectify and that’s what makes us great. That’s what makes us grow regardless of age. How often do we surprise ourselves by learning from the unfiltered, unbiased gaze of the youngest?
“Never underestimate the power of music.” – Coco Movie
4. We are still connected after death
Coco also talks about the family inheritance and is that the most important thing that should be inherited between relatives over the years is support. But not just anyone, but the one that only the family can give you: unconditional support, no matter how crazy your dreams may be! And if you hit them, they’ll be there to help you up. Because family is the most important thing, and, in Mexico, they know a lot about family unity! 😉
“Never forget how much your family loves you.” – Coco Movie
5. Family is always our best support
The film deals with death from a colourful approach and with touches of humour suitable for children too. And it teaches us that the dead and the living are still connected thanks to the memories we keep of them. It is what makes them not disappear with the passage of time and remain forever in our hearts. Seeing it, it is impossible not to wonder about your ancestors!
“Remember me. I carry you in my heart and you will have me near.” – Coco Movie
On a day like today, there’s nothing better than following in the footsteps of Mexicans and remembering your loved ones with a smile. Because what you remember lives forever in your heart!
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