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 Culture & Traditions

Day of the Dead El Dia de Muertos

Celebrating the Day of the Dead

At night, with everything ready, the dances begin. The Danza de los Viejitos, Dance of the Old Men, is the representative dance of this region. In pre-Hispanic times this dance was performed as a ritual honoring the Sun.

Another popular dance is the Pescado Blanco, White Fish, through which the inhabitants of Janitzio express their gratitude to the lake since fishing is their most important economic activity.

Also at night, as a way of expressing their gratitude to God for all the blessings they have been given, the fishermen go out to the lake with their canoes, lighting the way with torches and carrying out an impressive ritual with their butterfly nets.

panteon mujer velaAt midnight it is the graveyard of the island the place in which living and dead will reunite once again.

The bell at the entrance rings all night long, calling the souls to return and enjoy the splendid ceremony. It is mainly the women and children who silently find the tombs of their relatives, on which they place the lovely embroidered napkins and set candles, flowers, and food that their dead relatives so much enjoyed when alive. This is how the night goes by, with prayers and chants from the women and children, while the men silently observe what goes on. Their songs and prayers are elevated to the sky, begging for the eternal rest of the souls and for the happiness of the living.

The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, and their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence.

The Day of the Dead is a grand celebration of life itself!

May Herz


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