Mexico on Friday marked the Day of the Dead, an annual festival filled with colour and joy during which families welcome back the souls of the departed.
“We must not forget our traditions,’’ President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said before inaugurating an altar filled with flowers and skulls in Constitution Square in central Mexico City.
The president and Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum were welcomed by dozens of people disguised as elegant skeletons.
The women wore long black or colourful dresses, some adorned with fancy collars and purple flowers, and the men, tail suits and top hats, with skulls painted on their faces.
The Day of the Dead, which forms part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, combines pre-Hispanic and Christian elements.
On Nov. 1, the souls of dead children are believed to return to the earth to visit their families, and the souls of adults, on Nov 2.
Families visit cemeteries where they eat, drink and sing at the tombs of their loved ones, placing offerings such as candles and food both on the graves and on altars in their homes.
“A musician must have no barriers’’ between life and death, said Jose Alfredo Jimenez Silva, a musician who makes a hefty sum by singing at Mexico City’s biggest cemetery on the Day of the Dead.
“You need to really love what you do to be able to sing to a dead person,’’ he told dpa.
Meanwhile, Mexico City was preparing the main parade of the Day of the Dead, which will feature 2,500 artists, 11 carriages and gigantic cardboard skeletons.
Two million people are expected to come to watch the parade on Oct 2.(dpa/NAN)