What is the Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos is a tradition that we celebrate in México and now in these days it is celebrated worldwide. This is when we celebrate and remember our ancestors and loved ones that passed away.
Dia de Muertos combines the Ancient Mexican traditions with the ones that the Spaniards brought to México many centuries ago.
In Curanderismo or Mexican Shamanism it is believe that there is a “veil” that separates the reality where we live and the one where our ancestors and loved ones that had passed away are.
This happens twice a year. The time where the veil is the thinnest is during last days of October and the first days of November. The veil starts thinning little by little until it is very thin. In those days is where we are in a position of communicating and “feeling” our ancestors and loved ones that had passed away. For some people this is frightening or sad. In our tradition it is neither. It is a moment to celebrate the “union” of both realities and the “reunion” with our ancestors and loved ones that had passed away.
We celebrate this time big. We celebrate during all those days. We invite family and friends from this reality and from the other reality to join us. We prepare what we call Altar de Muertos or Altar for the Dead to create a portal so our ancestors and loved ones that had passed away can come, visit and celebrate with us.
After preparing the altar we activate it so the portal to another reality starts working and our ancestors and loved ones that had passed away can come or cross easily and spend some time with us.
Our altars are prepared with flowers, food, beverages, toys, candies, objects that we know our ancestors and loved ones used to enjoy, pictures of them. They are also prepared with different items that help our loved ones to visit us or help us to know that they are here.
We know that our altar is working when:
- We can hear noises, music and voices
- Sometimes we even hear our name called by a familiar voice of one of our loved ones that had passed away
- We also can smell flowers, food or the smell of our loved ones.
- In some cases objects from the altar fall or move
- If we decorated with papel picado (Mexican perforated paper) it moves when we have visitors from the other reality
- After all is done when we taste the food offered to our loved ones, it has no flavor. This is easy to investigate: In the past we had divided half of any food that we had in the altar. Activate the altar and invite our loved ones to feast on the food. A couple of hours later we bring the food that we separated. The one that we didn’t have at the altar. We tasted it and then we compared the flavors. It never fails, the food that we didn’t share with our loved ones always tastes better and has more flavor. It is believed that if they like what we offer they will “eat” in spirit and take away the flavor.
*There is not right or wrong way to prepare an altar, an offering and to invite our loves ones that had passed away to come visit us. Everything is in our heart and what our intention is.
We invite you to celebrate big regardless your tradition or background!!!
Paloma Cervantes is a Mexican Shaman or Curandera practicing since 1986. She writes and teaches about Shamanism, Curanderismo, Herbalism, Spiritual Herbalism and Ancient Healing Traditions. She has her practice in California.
Paloma teaches Mexican Shaman or Curanderismo in order to keep alive the tradition. Modernization threatens to extinguish this richly Spiritual tradition and highly effective healing modality.
* You can contact her for classes and private consultations
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559 593 8766