Dia De Los Muertos
No it is not Halloween.
Tons of people decked out in scary looking costumes. Parading the streets with skeletal face painting.
But, no, it is not Halloween.
Held yearly on the 2nd of November, the Day of the Dead is a festival mainly celebrated in Mexico, although communities all over Latin America also partake in it.
And contrary to the fun-looking, merry demeanour, it is far from it.
An extension of the ancient Aztec rituals, and akin to the Chinese Qingming festival, the Dia De Los Muertos is in actual fact, a commemoration of loved ones and friends who have left the living world.
Families gather to pray for the well-being of those they have lost, and wish them goodwill in their spiritual journey ahead.
Vigils and celebrations are held in honour of the deceased. Their altars, or tombstones, are adorned with fitting decorations, and spruced up with items that meant much to them while alive, or with their favourite food.
Poignant, emotional and sentimental. Don’t let the joyful-like atmosphere fool you.
For it is a celebration of life. And a celebration of the sojourn after life.