By Kirby Vickery from the November 2013 Edition
(pronounced ‘Meek-teka-see-wahdl’or ‘Meek-teka-kee-wadl’)
This Aztec Goddess is known as “the Lady of the Dead” or the Queen of “Mictlan”. She was the caretaker of the bones of the dead. The holiday to celebrate the Goddess by the pre-Hispanic peoples of the land now known as Mexico, lasted a month. When the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan monks began the religious change of the native people of the newly discovered lands, the long celebration was changed to the first two days of November to coincide with the Roman Catholic Holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
These figurines known as Catrinas are typical of “Day of the Dead” art.
In Mexico and other Latin American countries, the 1st November is dedicated to the children who have died and 2nd November to the adults. On these days, family members go to the cemetery taking a wreath as a gift and possibly a picnic. They sit beside the grave and tell the dead loved one, what has happened in the past year within the family and other important matters; the joys, the sadness’s, and the hopes for the future.