Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead

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What’s it all about?

This is a short class on the origins of the Day of the Dead, the traditional Mexican celebration that has taken over the whole world!

What will we cover?

First we will explore the roots of this practice across some of the ancient cultures of Mexico. The Mayan, Aztec, Totonac peoples, among other groups, believed in duality: day/night, light/dark, life/death. As such, the satirical and natural antagonism of laughter and pain take form in the shape of a sweet smiling skull.

We will analyse the elements of this ancient celebration that survived through the years of Spanish colonialism, which resulted in a fusion of pagan and religious beliefs in what we now know as “dia de muertos”or “dia de todos los santos” as it is known in Spain and in other countries of Latin America.

We will also identify the elements that constitute an altar, the central piece of the celebrations. Candles, marigolds, food, drink, and images of the deceased are a few of the key elements present on the altar.

Who will be teaching?

Coral is a Mexican archaeologist who has studied the ancient diet of the Maya people in the south of Mexico. She has more than 15 years of experience as an archaeologist and has worked in many parts of Mexico and more recently in Australia. With the information she has gathered from her studies, she has set up a small catering company where she cooks traditional dishes using Pre-hispanic ingredients and methods.