It’s very interesting for me to find such similarities between Mexican and Indian traditions.
We both have a “festival” for honouring those whom we loved and have passed away. Although the intention is the same there is a big difference in the attitude around it.
Shradh in India
According to the Hindu calendar the period of Pitru Paksha is when homage must be paid to the ancestors, which is called Shradh. This comprises the 15 days between the last day of Ganpati’s festival and the 1st day of Durga Pooja.
The ritual may vary from family to family but some of the traditions are: putting garlands on their photo and displaying it somewhere visible, feeding a crow, feeding poor people, giving money and clothes to the needy.
This year besides all the grandparents we added my dad´s photo as well. So we had to do all of the mentioned above 5 times to honour each one of them.
Shradh is a more serious deal than Day of the Dead. During these 15 days people won’t buy anything new, they won’t even wear new clothes. Some people, like some Maharashtrians I know, will fast these 2 weeks.
Day of the Dead in Mexico
In Mexico “Día de Muertos” is, well sort of, a party! Fiesta! It is celebrated on 2nd November.
There are lots of colourful paper shapes and music, irreverent poems called Calaveras, skeletons dressed in fancy dresses, flowers, chocolate or sugar cranes which we eat the next day.
We usually build an altar to honour one of our ancestors in particular every year. We put their photo in the center, their favorite food or symbols for the things that remind us of them.
Then we invite friends and family over to eat a big “pan de muerto”, which is a delicious sort of sweet bread made only during October, along with some hot chocolate.
Which are some of your country’s or family’s traditions for honouring your ancestors? I would love to learn more from you!