Day of the Dead
Celebrating the Day of the Dead is now a tradition for our Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska. That is why we want to share with you the interview we did with our friend Lalo Gómez, who for many years has dedicated himself to researching and disseminating Mexican culture.
1.- Hello Eduardo, we want to learn more about the Day of the Dead, let’s start with you, who are you, and what do you know about this celebration?
I am Eduardo Gómez Montaño, I was born in Mexico City, I studied a degree in tourism at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico and for 32 years I have dedicated myself to the research and dissemination of Mexican culture through Aztec dance, folklore performances , conferences, teaching and guided tours. The Day of the Dead in Mexico has many facets, from its pre-Hispanic origins where there is a worldview that divides various places to which the spirit or teyolía traveled depending on its death to evolve in other planes such as Mictlan, the commemoration that occurs in the indigenous and rural communities with elements inherited from the ancient inhabitants of Mexico, and the way in which the mestizo society celebrates it and in the cities with elements inherited from colonial times.
2.- Why is it celebrated and when?
Its celebration is due to that spirituality of the Mexican where he remains united with loved ones who have already transcended, under a mystique of the continuity of life on other levels, that due to that connection of love and memories that united us on Earth, they prepare the path that we will follow and that the Day of the Dead becomes a reunion between those on the earthly plane and those on the spiritual plane. From October 28, we begin commemorating and giving light to those who lost their lives in accidents, on the 29th, to those who drowned, on the 30th, to the forgotten and lonely souls, on the 31st, to the unbaptized, on November 1st, we place the offering for deceased children, and fiinally, on November 2nd, for adults.
3.- Is this celebration the equivalent of Halloween?
Although Halloween coincides in date with the celebration of the Day of the Dead, due to the saints of the current calendar that commemorates all the saints, it is not its equivalent since the 1st has a history of Celtic celebrations, while the 2nd has a history of Anahuac cultures whose celebration lasted forty days that coincided between the months of August and September.
4.- For people who want to celebrate it, how do you suggest they do it?
With the joy of offering our ancestors and loved ones who are already beyond earthly life, an “Offering of the Dead” with what they liked most and what we remember them with, celebrating with traditional elements such as papel picado, marigolds telling or recreating Mexican legends with outfits such as the catrina garbancera or the black charro, offering copal, songs, candlelight and prayers to transcended relatives, sharing bread of the dead and chocolate with friends or exchanging sugar skulls, etc.