Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de Finados aka "Day of the Dead"

In the U.S., Halloween was celebrated over the weekend and on Monday of this week (the actual holiday). Children and adults alike donned costumes to celebrate with either trick or treating for candy or headed to a party to drink some alcohol. (Hopefully the children were getting the candy and the adults were getting the alcohol). Today is "Finados" here in Brazil, a National Holiday, which is celebrated on November 2nd of each year. It is Brazil's version of "Day of the Dead" which is celebrated by many Latin American countries (and by my High School Spanish Class!). Unlike in Mexico, Dia de Finados for Brazil, is not celebrated as a party. Finados is a day to pray for the dead. Some people, especially Catholics, go to the cemetery and offer flowers to their dead relatives and friends. Some people go to churches, due to the religious connection. Others use the day to hold a cookout and invite friends and family over for gathering.

The most notable difference between Halloween and Finados, likely the fact that Halloween is when the weather is turning colder in the U.S. due to the fall season, whereas in Brazil its often 80-90 degrees (F) in November as they move into the summer months! Think how the costumes might change if the U.S. experienced the warmer weather, it might be a scene from the Brazil Carnaval!

Some additional information I found on the internet for Gringoes in Brazil:

Following All Saints Day (November 1st) the public holiday of "Finados" (Day of the Dead) is celebrated here in Brazil on November 2nd.

The idea is to remember the life of loved ones, so many people will go to cemeteries and churches, and take flowers, light candles, and pray. Despite the morbid subject the celebration is intended to be a positive one, and the day is set aside specifically to celebrate the life of, and remember those who are deceased.

The origins of this celebration are a little lost in time, but it‘s a holiday that has been celebrated for thousands of years in Latin America and clearly stems from there. Most likely the origins are from cultures such as the Aztecs and Mayans who revered their ancestors, and wanted to honour their memory. It was a common practice to keep the skulls of ancestors as trophies, and then display them during rituals such as this and also those that symbolised birth. Hence skulls are a potent symbol still used in countries like Mexico.

The holiday is celebrated throughout Latin America, but is also celebrated in growing numbers in parts of the USA, principally those areas that have large Latin American immigrant populations.
TimeIrado is off to see the City!

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