Ep 4 - Dia De Muertos

Hello listeners! Welcome to Episode 4! Thank you to my friend Lucia who was kind enough to be my guest on this episode in which we share our experiences and a little bit of history of Dia de Muertos, the Mexican Holiday in which we celebrate death.

Thank you to Henry Castro for being our fantastic producer and for the song of the show Negrita Bailadora. Find more about his music here

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During this episode we learned so many things that are often forgotten about the history of this amazing day. 

Below is an excerpt of the wonderful book of papers CONACULTA (National Liason for the Heritage and Tourism) released:

La fiesta del Día de Muertos es uno de los múltiples efectos del encuentro de dos mundos. En México, sin embargo, ha sido también la causa y el origen de una enorme variedad de expresiones culturales que giran en torno a esta celebración anual. Los estudios históricos y antropológicos han permitido constatar que las celebraciones dedicadas a los muertos no sólo comparten una antigua práctica ceremonial donde conviven la tradición católica y la tradición precolombina, sino también una diversidad de manifestaciones que se sustentan en la pluralidad étnica y cultural del país. Las representaciones en torno a los muertos han dado lugar a una arquitectura simbólica y ritual que se expresa en una infinidad de obras plásticas, objetos artesanales y muestras del arte efímero que se producen en las distintas regiones indígenas. La riqueza cultural de estas celebraciones reposa también en las creaciones artísticas que músicos, pintores y poetas mexicanos han generado en los últimos siglos, aportando al mundo una obra de singular valía como la que se encuentra contenida en la producción gráfica de José Guadalupe Posada, en la literatura académica de Octavio Paz y en la poesía de José Gorostiza. El repertorio es extenso e innumerable, pero en conjunto muestra hasta qué punto la fiesta del Día de Muertos ha sido una referencia constante en campos tan heterogéneos como la lírica y la danza, la artesanía y la narrativa popular.

This text basically explains how research has found that indigenous and catholic traditions are linked to what we know now as the Dia de Muertos celebration

We talked how the Roman Catholic Calendar observes Nov 1 as All Saints Day and how even though the indigenous groups in Mexico celebrated their loved ones, once the Catholic Church arrived the religious holiday and the indigenous celebration day was merged. 

Because I think learning about the Holidays we celebrate is important, this is why this episode was released as a bonus for this week. Although we barely scratched the surface of the history and origins we hope that you get some insight of why you see Latinos celebrating death. 

About the flowers: The original name of the typical orange flower that is used to decorate the altars is or Cempoalxúchitl or Cempasúchil and now also called Flor de Muerto (Flower of the dead) which represents the spring-like path from leaving this world into the new world after death (according to some stories). Because each region of Mexico and the multiple indigenous groups (over 40) that celebrate Dia de Muertos, there are multiple definitions and symbolism that the flower represents. 

La Catrina

Often times we see women dressed up with nice Mexican dresses and their faces painted like skulls. They are representing La Catrina a character that was born in the 1800s when Jose Guadalupe Posada, an illustrator during the colonial era, came up with the dressed up skeleton. According to the story of the first drawing, Guadalupe Posada dressed up the skeleton in aristocrat clothes as a satirical way of showing that no matter how expensive our clothing is, we will all end up looking like skeletons. 

Remedy of the day: ARNICA

According to WebMD, Arnica is applied to the skin for pain and swelling associated with bruisesaches, and sprains. It is also applied to the skin for insect bites, arthritis, muscle and cartilage pain, chapped lips, and acne.

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Quote of the day: 

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince