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Far from an extension of our secular Halloween, this Mexican celebration is a deeply religious custom with its own rituals, folklore and history.
Part of the Christian tradition of Allhallowtide, All Souls’ Day – or the Day of the Dead – takes on special meaning as COVID changes the way we think about life and death.
The mass-marketing of the Day of the Dead is evident in the costumes that people buy for the day.
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A Mexican-American scholar writes that in the 1700s, Day of the Dead generated the largest annual market in Mexico City.
For the Aztecs, Day of the Dead rituals helped people find balance in their personal lives and social ties.
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Day of the Dead rituals help people connect with their ancestors, which the Aztecs believed was key to well-being.
Revelers dressed as Catrina, an iconic Day of the Dead skeleton, at a holiday parade in Mexico City, Oct. 21, 2018.
It may sound like a solemn affair, but the Day of the Dead – which blends indigenous and Catholic ritual – is a convivial celebration that allows Mexicans to reconnect with deceased loved ones.
Day of the dead at a Mexican cemetery.
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Many in the Western world lack the explicit mourning rituals that help people deal with loss. On Day of the Dead, two scholars describe ancient mourning practices.
Day of the Dead Oaxaca, Mexico.
Copyright Colleen Nordstrom
Australia has few public rituals around death, leaving people to figure out how to process grief alone. But Mexico’s Day of the Dead, with its focus on art and community, could help us cope better.
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How has Malcolm Lowry’s novel stood the test of time?
La Llorona Durmiente, oil on canvas, 2012
For more than 500 years, she has wandered, weeping and searching without rest. A ghostly woman in white who is said to have murdered her children, she is doomed to roam the earth, searching for their lost…