MEXICO CITY, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – Foreign tourists and Mexicans attending the Day of the Dead festivities flocked to downtown Mexico City on Monday, attracted by extensive deals for the deceased.
Visitors looked at large altars decorated with chocolate skulls, fruit and freshly cut marigolds around the Zocalo Plaza, Mexico City’s bustling main square built near the ruins of the most sacred temples of the Aztec Empire.
Shrines honoring the dead at the Zocalo are part of a tradition that mixes Catholic rituals with the pre-Spanish belief that the dead return once a year from the underworld.
“In people from all cultures, there is this fear of death, but here you can see them celebrating it,” said Miguel Torres, a Colombian tourist whose face and lips were painted in death black and white.
“It is important to get to know new cultures and to see that death is a new phase that sooner or later must come to everyone.”
Adorned with traditional Mexican bread as well as bananas, oranges and corn, the altars also had images of the elderly who had passed away. Tourists lined up for pictures next to giant white skulls painted with bright flower-rich pictures.
“The skulls, the shamanic part beneath it, seem very profound to me, it goes to the roots of what the meaning of death is,” said Dayan Melendez, an American tourist from Colorado.
“For me, it’s very emotional, and I think we’re renewing the original culture so it does not scare me.”
Author Drazen Jorgic; Editing Karishma Singh
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