Day of the Dead celebrations here are a mixture of Christian devotion and Pre-Hispanic traditions and beliefs. As a result of this fusion, the celebration comes to life as a distinctive Mexican tradition comprising an altar and offerings dedicated to the deceased.
The altar comprises four main elements of nature — earth, wind, water, and fire.
Earth is symbolized by crop: The Mexicans believe the souls are fed by the scent of food.
Wind is represented by a moving object: Tissue paper is frequently used to represent wind.
Water is held in a bowl for the soul to quench its thirst after the long journey to the altar.
Fire is signified by a wax candle: Each lit candle represents a soul, and an additional one is placed for the forgotten soul.
They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to revel in the festivities that are prepared for them.
Day of the Dead is a very expensive holiday for the rural based, indigenous families. Many will spend over two month’s income to honour their dead relatives. They believe that happy spirits will afford protection, good luck and wisdom to their families. Ofrenda building keeps the family close.
On November 2nd, the festivities move to the cemetery. Families clean tombs, play cards, listen to the village band and reminisce about their loved ones.
This tradition keeps the community tightly knit.