Caribbean writers honoured as Mexican Embassy hosts Day of the Dead celebrations

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Mexican Embassy has honoured renowned writers Sir Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, Sir V. S. Naipaul, Sergio Pitol and Octavio Paz, during its celebrations of this year’s Day of the Dead.

Mexican Ambassador to Guyana H.E. Ivan Roberto Sierra-Medel explained that the festival is a combination of Native American and Spanish Christian traditions that honour and celebrate family and friends who have passed away.

“It is deeply entrenched into the Mexican society because it has historical roots leading to the aesthetics and even before that time when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century in Mexico… The Catrina tradition also blended with Hispanic tradition… For Mexicans to celebrate and honour our ancestors it is as a very sacred practice because we owe them respect and it is thanks to them that we are here,” Ambassador Sierra-Medel told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

The Ambassador noted that while the holiday originated in Mexico, it is celebrated across Latin America with colourful Calaveras (skulls) and Calacas (skeletons) as the trademark decorations. He pointed out that the altar or ofrenda is not for worshipping but to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living.

“The altar is actually filled with offerings such as water to quench thirst after the long journey, traditional food and drink, skulls, candles and Marigolds (Flower of The Dead) to decorate the altar among others that will transmit praise, prayers and purifies the area around the altar,” the Mexican Ambassador explained.

Ambassador Medel urged all Guyanese to visit the embassy and view the altar dedicated in honour of the well-known authors and others, to get a general understanding of this celebration.

Neola Damon.

Images by Kawise Wishart.

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