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What does the younger generation think of Day of the Dead?

Day of the dead, a very lively tradition

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“The celebration of life is truly profound in its totality, as is the celebration of death.
They are inseparable. A civilization that denies the dead, inevitably denies the living.”
Octavio Paz, “Todos Santos Día de Muertos”, The Labyrinth of Solitude, 1950. 

Mexico is a young country. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico has 123.5 million people, 31.9 of which are 15 to 29 years old, a group referred to as centennials or generation Z.

This generation is disruptive, but also tries to conserve and protect its country’s traditions. This generation is motivated by the freedom felt while being outside and spending time with their friends, a sentiment reflected in the Day of the Dead festivities. They are also interested in using makeup as a costume and marching in the parade to honor their culture and because they view art as one of the best forms of expression. 

Generation Z is constantly creating and designing new ways to travel through Mexico and adding modern twists to traditional gastronomy without losing the importance of food’s cultural heritage. They understand the magic of Mexican tradition and how globally admired it is. 

We have asked them what they think, what they feel, and how they celebrate.

“For me, Day of the Dead is one of the most beautiful festivals in our culture because it is a great way for us to remember our family members who have passed and are now resting in peace. I personally love it!”
Emilia Liedo, 22, teacher. 

“For me, this celebration is less a party, and more a way to honor our traditions and give the world a taste of what Day of the Dead symbolizes to us. It is beautiful way for Mexicans to remember our loved ones. I enjoy setting up the offerings because it shows our ancestors the love and respect we have for them. I think this celebration and tradition was a great inspiration for the Disney-Pixar movie and the production did an excellent job of demonstrating how we feel.”
Mariana Colón, 23, design, animation and digital art student. 

“Mexico is rich in culture, wonderful hospitality and respect for our elders, all of which are reflected in the Day of the Dead celebrations. During this great festivity, the rest of the world has the opportunity to take part in this celebration, see the painted skeletons, decorated houses and detailed altars. Without a doubt, Day of the Dead is one of the most beautiful holidays. Every corner of Mexico fully celebrates our culture!”
Ricardo Camerena, 19, engineering and computer systems student.  

“It is so nice that people can celebrate and honor the life of those they love, even after they have passed.”
Ivonne Ramírez, 18, fashion and style blogger

During this time, many young people in Mexico participate in design, fashion and art competitions that take place throughout Mexico. 

In the Mayan, Nahua, Zapoteca and Mixteca regions, Day of the Dead is not only viewed as a ceremonial festivity, but it also plays a central role in the identity and worldview of each group. It is a celebration of the community, including the youth.  

Did you know?
In 2008, UNESCO officially declared the celebration an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 
The tradition of honoring the dead in Mexico began in pre-Columbian times. Old medical calendars show that during the 18 months that made up the calendar, there were six celebrations dedicated to the dead. The festival that became the Day of the Dead commemorated the ninth month of the Mexican solar calendar, near the beginning of August. Celebrated for a full month, it was dedicated to the commemoration of deceased children and adult relatives.

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