festivals and traditions

Halloween? All Saints’ Day? All Souls’ Day?

As we are approaching Halloween I started thinking about the two following days that seem to share similar features. What do I mean by this?

Well, everyone knows that there was the widespread belief in  many pagan cultures that this time of year was associated with the souls of the dead coming back to earth.

I have a  Mexican friend who has just told me about what happens in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd. I found it fascinating because it highlights how the pagan past and the christian present intermingle.

Just listen to some of this! He told me…

Mexicans  strongly believe that the spirits of the dead come back to their families on October 31st and leave on November 2nd   so they get ready to celebrate and prepare specialities like – pan de muerte  (in a skull shape) or candy (in a skeleton shape)…SPOOKY!

   On All Saints’ Day they remember all deceased children (los angelitos) and decorate graves with colourful streamers and balloons.

But the big celebration really kicks in on All Souls’ Day when people flock to the cemeteries in a procession where everyone is dressed up and dancing to live music –  picnics are then arranged in the cemetery.

He also said that these traditions continue because people think that if they don’t leave out food or celebrate, the spirits will be sad and angry and take their revenge!!

This has certainly given me food for thought and  I hope it’s the same for you. Anybody fancy coming with me to Mexico City next November? 😉

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