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The celebration, in Mexico, of Day of the Dead
is a pre-Hispanic holiday
in honor of the departed, celebrated on November 1st. and 2nd, in conjunction with the Catholic celebrations of All Souls Day and All Saints.
Hanal Pixán, which in Mayan means “Food of souls”. In the towns and cities of Mayan origin or influence in the Yucatan Peninsula people prepare this traditional food offered to the dead during the commemorations, on October 31st children are reminded, on November 1st adults and November 2nd all saints.
The celebration begins much earlier with embroidered tablecloths used on the table, the handcrafting of clay dishes, candle wax, and so on. It is made a general cleaning of the house and patios, fences are painted. According to belief, the food placed on the altar is consumed in spirit by the souls to whom this are dedicated, leaving behind only the physical presence of food.
The elements of the Altar
Now a days, the table is of any material, whether for children or adults . Traditional materials generally used on the table are usually made of mud, clay, wood and Jícara bowls. Is common among the offerings presented on the table, objects of other materials such as bottles of liquor, pictures and objects that remind the deceased.
The meaning of the tablecloth is attributed to the clouds, inspired by the European/Christian worldview of heaven and hell.
It stands to give light and pleasant scent to the essence of the food for enjoyment of the souls. The resin burning is copal.
Salt and water
On the altar are placed two containers each other with water and salt, the meaning is related to the origin and end of life, on the other hand it is believed to protect the souls of “ill winds” and guides them through the path to avoid being trapped in this world, for this reason this elements can not miss.
Mukbil chicken or Pib
It is the most typical element and what distinguishes the Mayan altars of those from other regions of the country. It’s kind of tamale (corn cake) stuffed with meat stews and corn cooked in a hole in the ground that is built with heated limestone with firewood where the pib is placed covered with clean leafs clean of resin after covered with soil. The hot stone bed achieves the cooking.
Candy and chocolate skulls
A skull candy or chocolate skulls are widely used for Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and also a made of mud toys, which are shaped like skull in both cases are usually very small.