November the 2nd “El Dia De Los Muertos” Day of the Dead

There are not many traditions in my family, growing up nor now did we ever celebrate most of the typical or stereotypical Mexican traditions. It may have had been that we were raised near the border with the United States, to be exact about fourteen miles away from it. I remember growing up eating Kellogg cornflakes and Aunt Jemima pancakes at grandpas house, not typical in deep Mexico but very common in the border region.

The only Mexican tradition that my family has had and celebrated was El Dia De Los Muertos the Day of The Dead and even at that it is not the stereotypical celebration celebrated in Mexico. The way that it is celebrated in Northeastern Mexico is that November the 2nd is a day of remembrance and you pay your respect to those who have come before us and are now gone. It is celebrated by taking Coronas (looks like a Christmas reef) made out of either natural or artificial flowers and they are placed in your loved ones tombstone. The colors that have always been used in our family is baby blue for the males and purple for the females. When asked as to why those colors my father responded, “they are the same ones your grandparents used”. On this day if you stay long enough in the cemetery you can meet almost everyone in the region, people just keep coming in with their coronas or flowers and after placing them on the graves and a quick prayer they leave, some will wander off in the cemetery and visit every grave belonging to their families. It is also a sort of a field trip for the small children who through this tradition are shown were their ancestors are buried and the importance of always remembering them. Even if it’s for only one day out of the year.

Growing up sometimes I would feel out of place due to everyone, school and television specially, talking about the day of the dead in Mexico as always being celebrated by going to the cemetery and taking your loved ones their favorite foods and candies. One time I asked one of my teachers who was teaching about Day of the Dead in our Spanish class as to how come if I was from Mexico I had never celebrated it that way. She replied that I had not because our region celebrates it just as the Spaniards did by just placing coronas or flower arrangements. Most of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas celebrate this day like that, even-though their schools try to inculcate the other deep Mexico style to it’s students as if trying to force the last vestiges of Spaniard influence out of Mexico.

For more information on the typical celebration please read the following article Day of the Death.

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