On the first days of November, events inspired by Mexico’s Día de los Muertos were held in various places of the country. One of them took place on Thursday in Prague’s Holešovice Market. People swarmed here all day, either for the workshops or for the climax in the form of an evening celebration full of themed music and food, not just Mexican.
Some saw the event as just an ordinary party, while others perceived Latin American celebrations in a broader perspective. “Yesterday, I went to the cemetery to light a candle. Today, my friend and I wanted to have a nice evening, we drank tequila at home and now we are here,” one of the participants, Klára, told Novinkám.
“I like the animals, the colors, the music. I also like the fact that their holiday of the dead is not as serious as ours,” added her friend Eliška.
“For me, the holiday is nice in the sense that it’s not Halloween, but it has a deep point,” said visitor Michal.
Just like the Czech All Souls Day, Mexican families head to the graves of their ancestors in November. However, they spend almost the whole night in the decorated cemeteries, eating, drinking, singing, talking to the dead and asking them for advice or blessings.
“Once a year the dead can return to the world of the living, they are here among us. They see the living, but no one sees them. The living dress like the dead so that the symbiosis is unified. That’s what’s nice about it,” Michal recalls the tradition, including the habit of dressing up in costumes and decorating the face.
Candles and wreaths fill cemeteries, people also remember famous personalities
Not everyone chose make-up
A number of visitors to the Holešovice event tried to honor the custom, some wore at least some make-up, others chose a more Halloween-themed costume or came in civilian clothes.
“We expected that everyone here would be painted and that our make-up wouldn’t stand out somehow, and at the same time there are more people who are not painted,” Klára laughed.
“It took us two hours to get dressed and paint, but the preparations were longer, to buy paints and so on,” revealed Michal, who visually united with the girlfriend he came here with.
In one of the halls, visitors could see the typical altars that Mexicans build at home or right next to their graves. The altars are decorated with flowers, especially orange Africans, whose fragrance lures the souls of the dead back to the living, and on the other hand drives away evil spirits. Candles are lit, gifts, favorite foods and drinks are placed.
There were also colorfully decorated skulls and skeletons or photographs reminiscent of people who passed us on the way to the other world. In Holešovice, among them was, for example, a photo of former president Václav Havel. “When the photo is missing, its legacy dies, and the deceased has definitely died,” added Michal.
Do you like the Mexican way of celebrating the Day of the Dead?
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