Dia de los Muertos :Origins and Altars By Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos

Dia de los Muertos, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, ritual

dia-de-los-muertos

Origen prehispanico de la festividad

The Dia de los Muertos celebration has it origins in the Prehispanic Mexico. In that area the people used several calendars, the solar calendar with 365 days, the ritual calendar with 260 day called Tonalpohualli, they also used another types of calendars.

The Mesoamerican cosmogony is based in the philosophy of the opposites and complementary, this means that we have energies that complement each other.  In this cosmology, Dead is a counterpart of Life and vice versa, we need both in order to have harmony in the Cosmos.

Here are some examples:

MOTHER/MADRE
9
Down/Abajo
Cold/Frío
Female/Hembra
Humedity,Moistness/Humedad
Underworld/Inframundo
Dead/Muerte
Night/Noche
Ocelot/Ocelote
Oscurity/Oscuridad
FATHER/PADRE
13
Up/Arriba
Hot/Calor
Male/Macho
Drought/Sequía
Sky/Cielo
Life/Vida
Day/Día
Eagle/Águila
Light/Luz

Historically, during the harvest season, the people celebrated and shared food and the harvest of the year, with their ancestors.  They believed that their ancestors were also helping to plant and take care of the plants, so when they were collecting the fruits of the harvest it was normal to share with all those that helped with the planting and tending of the fields.  To celebrate, they created altars, with flowers, especially Cempoalxochitl, a beautiful yellow flower (marigold), they feasted on tamales, mole and turkey.

As part of celebrating the ancestors, the people recognized that when someone died, they could go to different places:

– The Tlalocan, was a kind of paradise where the people who died for causes related with water went. Their bodies were buried.

– The Omeyocan, the place where for the warriors who died in war as well as women who died during childbirth (cihuateteo). It was the place of Tonatiuh the Sun and Huitzilopochtli the deity of the war. Their bodies were buried.

– The Mictlan, the place of Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl the lord and the lady of the Mictlan lived. The people who died for natural causes went there, the soul took 4 years to arrive. The dogs or  Xoloixcuintles were the guides, that is why was very important that every person during their life had at least one dog who will help in the transition.

– The Chichihuacauhco, this was a place where the babies who died before eating corn went. They believed that in that place was a tree with uncountable breasts where the babies were having milk.

dia-de-los-muertos-2

Altars:  Following the arrival of the Spaniards several elements changed, the celebration was changed to the day of All the Saints. Currently the altars dedicated to the dead have some these elements:

  • A picture of the loved one
  • Water is important because the souls are thirsty after their journey to this world
  • Salt
  • Bread, pan de muerto.
  • The food that the loved ones used to eat
  • Liquors
  • cigars
  • Candles
  • Flowers, cempoalxochitl or cempasúchil
  • Sugar skulls with the name of the people who is still alive, because we never know when we are going to be gone
  • Sweet Pumpkin
  • Fruits of the season
  • Mole with turkey
  • Sometimes the music that the deceased loved is played

The Day of the Dead of Dia de los Muertos is very alive.  I feel it is very important because it offers us the opportunity to feel the presence of our loved ones who have passed.  Creating an altar for our deceased loved ones is a good reminder that we will not be here on this plane forever.  We will transcend at some point, so to do what we love to do , to love our loved ones and follow our path toward happiness and love.

I want to close with a prehispanic poem:

Does no one know where we are going?
Do we go to God’s home or
do we live only here on earth?
Ah ohuaya.

Let your hearts know,
oh princes, oh eagles and jaguars
that we will not be friends forever,
only for a moment here, then we go
to Life Giver’s home,
Ohuaya ohuaya.

vero

Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos

I would like to invite you to join us for Dia de los Muertos in Mexico in 2018! Immerse yourself in the indigenous traditions, and find your own connection to your ancestors. “Los muerto tienen sed, los vivos culpas. The dead are thirsty, and the living are culpable.” –Ricardo Arjona. For more information on Day of the Dead please see:  our Pinterest Board .

Maria Veronica Iglesias Ramos was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). She grew up in a family that always honors the Earth, the plants and all the living beings.Veronica was initiated as a sahumadora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old. She studied about medicinal plants, crystal therapy and healing with gems. She also was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and she became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. She is also a Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine. She is currently researching gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine,  Feminine Shamanism in Mesoamerica, Feminine rites of passage and Goddesses from Mesoamerica.

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Photo credits: Veronica Iglesias

This blog was originally published in November 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dia de muertos:  Origins and Altars

By Veronica Iglesias Ramos

 

Origen prehispanico de la festividad

The Dia de Muetos Celebration has it origins in the Prehispanic Mexico. In that area the people used several calendars, the solar calendar with 365 days, the ritual calendar with 260 day called Tonalpohualli, they also used another types of calendars.

 

The Mesoamerican cosmogony is based in the philosophy of the opposites and complementary, this means that we have energies that complement each other.  In this cosmology, Dead is a counterpart of Life and viceverse, we need both in order to have harmony in the Cosmos.

Here are some examples:

 

 

MOTHER/MADRE
9
Down/Abajo
Cold/Frío
Female/Hembra
Humedity,Moistness/Humedad
Underworld/Inframundo
Dead/Muerte
Night/Noche
Ocelot/Ocelote
Oscurity/Oscuridad
FATHER/PADRE
13
Up/Arriba
Hot/Calor
Male/Macho
Drought/Sequía
Sky/Cielo
Life/Vida
Day/Día
Eagle/Águila
Light/Luz

 

 

 

 

Historically, during the harvest season, the people celebrated and shared food and the harvest of the year, with their ancestors.  They believed that their ancestors were also helping to plant and take care of the plants, so when they were collecting the fruits of the harvest it was normal to share with all those that helped with the planting and tending of the fields.  To celebrate, they created altars, with flowers, especially Cempoalxochitl, a beautiful yellow flower (marigold), they feasted on tamales, mole and turkey.

 

As part of celebrating the ancestors, the people recognized that when someone died, they could go to different places:

– The Tlalocan, was a kind of paradise where the people who died for causes related with water went. Their bodies were buried.

– The Omeyocan, the place where for the warriors who died in war as well as women who died during childbirth (cihuateteo). It was the place of Tonatiuh the Sun and Huitzilopochtli the deity of the war. Their bodies were buried.

– The Mictlan, the place of Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl the lord and the lady of the Mictlan lived. The people who died for natural causes went there, the soul took 4 years to arrive. The dogs or  Xoloixcuintles were the guides, that is why was very important that every person during their life had at least one dog who will help in the transition.

– The Chichihuacauhco, this was a place where the babies who died before eating corn went. They believed that in that place was a tree with uncountable breasts where the babies were having milk.

 

After the arrival of the Spaniards several elements changed, the celebration was changed to the day of All the Saints. Currently the altars dedicated to the dead have some these elements:

  • A picture of the loved one
  • Water is important because the souls are thirsty after their journey to this world
  • Salt
  • Bread, pan de muerto.
  • The food that the loved ones used to eat
  • Liquors
  • cigars
  • Candles
  • Flowers, cempoalxochitl or cempasúchil
  • Sugar skulls with the name of the people who is still alive, because we never know when we are going to be gone
  • Sweet Pumpkin
  • Fruits of the season
  • Mole with turkey
  • Sometimes the music that the deceased loved is played

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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