Modern Day of the Dead
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The Day of the Dead, known as "Dia de Los Muertos" in Spanish, is a centuries-old Mexican tradition honouring deceased loved ones.While its roots are deeply entrenched in ancient customs and practices, it has transformed our modern world like many traditions.Originally, Dia de Los Muertos was a month-long summer celebration observed by the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people.
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With the arrival of Spanish colonists, the event was condensed and shifted to align with the Catholic All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, now celebrated from October 31 to November 2. Today, as cultures and societies evolve, so does the way we celebrate the Day of the Dead. The essence of the holiday remains — setting up ofrendas, or altars, adorned with marigold flowers, sugar skulls, and favourite items of the departed. But modern touches are unmistakably present. For instance, sugar skulls, once handcrafted and painted, are now often mass-produced or even digitalized, shared, and celebrated on social media platforms. Likewise, papel picado, the traditional paper banners, might be made using modern cutting tools or techniques, easily adding intricate designs. The Day of the Dead has gained international attention in the entertainment realm. Films like Pixar's "Coco" introduced the holiday to global audiences, offering a colourful, musical, and heartfelt perspective on this significant tradition. Fashion and art have also seen Day of the Dead influences. Makeup artists craft stunning "Calavera" or skull designs for various events, not just during the holiday. Fashion lines, jewellery, and even home décor echo motifs and symbols linked to the Day of the Dead, merging traditional elements with contemporary aesthetics. Yet, at its core, the modern Day of the Dead remains a heartfelt celebration of life and remembrance. Families still gather, stories are shared, and the spirits of loved ones are cherished and remembered. Fusing old and new practices ensures that this treasured tradition continues to thrive, resonate, and evolve in today's ever-changing world.