In Mexico City, there are flowers and tequila. They place flowers on the coffin and provide food and drink to the family, who spend days and nights watching over the departed. Flowers, together with incense, candles, singing, and prayer, play an essential role in the ensuing church service. After the burial, friends and family may have another round of drinks or eat something sweet.
The rules for sending flowers to a Mexican funeral differ slightly from city to city. But generally, they are sent during the week following the death and include roses, lilies, carnations, chrysanthemums, oraons (these are actually vegetables). If you want to show your sympathy even more, you can also send fruit or chocolate.
Funerals in Mexico are usually held within 24 hours of death and last for several days. Friends and family come together to say goodbye and give thanks for the life of the deceased. This is when stories are told, memories are made, and grief is shared.
Mexicans like to celebrate life and mourn loss together. Funerals are full-scale parties where people dance, sing, drink, and tell stories about the deceased. There is always food and drink, plus games and prizes for the children. Parents may choose to bury their young ones alongside their ancestors, but this is not common.
Mexicans mourn and respect their dead loved ones on this occasion. Mexicans go to cemeteries to adorn the graves and spend time with their departed friends and family members. In their houses, they often create beautifully adorned altars (called ofrendas) to welcome the spirits. Candles, flowers, and food are placed on these altars to honor the dead.
The tradition dates back to the pre-Hispanic period when people would decorate the graves of their loved ones to show that they were still thinking of them even after they died. This practice is called "ofrenda" which means gift or offering. Today, families will travel to local cemeteries to place offerings on the graves of deceased relatives. They might put up small tents next to the grave or build a small altar with candles, flowers, and food to offer it to the spirit. Sometimes, families hire musicians to play music while they make their way through the cemetery.
This ritual is not only practiced in Mexico but also in parts of Central and South America.
People all over the world wear clothes that they have donated to charity instead of throwing away. In fact, more than 70% of all clothing sold in the United States is discarded into landfills or incinerators. The other 30% is donated to charity which is an excellent idea because less waste means better air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Outside of Mexico, the celebration is known as "Dia de los Muertos." Traditions associated with the festival include creating home altars known as ofrendas, commemorating the deceased with calaveras, aztec marigolds, and the deceased's favorite meals and beverages, and visiting cemeteries with these as presents. People also wear costumes and use alcohol to mark the occasion.
In Mexico, people build decorative skulls and crossbones on the outside of their houses for several days starting on the day called "Día de Nuestros Senescales" (Day of Our Dead). The tradition dates back at least 200 years when Spanish settlers in Mexico would build skulls and crossbones decorations on their homes to help keep evil spirits away. It has been popular there ever since.
In addition to the decorative exteriors, people also place food inside the house where the deceased used to live. This is called an altar. The type of food placed on the altar will be different depending on the deceased's personality and what foods they liked best. For example, if the deceased was very humble, potatoes would be put on the altar rather than something more luxurious like chocolate or candy.
At the end of November, families go to cemeteries to visit and remember the deceased. They leave flowers, make prayers, and share stories about the person during these visits.
Exploring the Traditions of Mexico's Dia de los Muertos
Mexican wedding customs are rich in ceremonies that are observed on the wedding day. Weddings in the Roman Catholic Church are very spiritual affairs that include a full liturgy. The bride and groom kneel or stand at the altar of the church. The godparents give them a rosary, a prayer book, and a kneeling pillow. Then they make three religious speeches - one from the priest, one from each godparent. After this, music is played, and the couple joins hands of their choice and walks down the aisle.
Wedding traditions in Mexico are similar to those in Europe and Latin America. The wedding ceremony itself is not legal in Mexico, but rather a marriage contract called "Pacto de Marido Prisionero" (Marriage Contract of a Prisoner of War). The contract is signed by both parties before two witnesses. It can be found in any Spanish-language newspaper for less than $100. The prison term in this case is generally six months, but if the husband is in jail when he and his wife want to marry, the period goes until he is released.
In addition to the wedding ceremony, Mexican weddings include many other traditions. For example, the father of the bride gives her a bouquet of flowers as she passes through the doorway of the church. She then gives it to the father of the groom, who will give it to his daughter after the wedding ceremony.
The mother of the bride often wears a traditional dress to the wedding.