|
|
|
|
Search: 
Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela Overview
Venezuelan Embassies & Consulates Around The World
Sites/Blogs about Venezuela
Venezuelan Newspapers
Facts about Venezuela
Venezuela Tourism
Embassies in Caracas

Colombia Overview
Colombian Embassies & Consulates Around the World
Government Links
Embassies in Bogota
Media
Sites/Blogs about Colombia
Educational Institutions

Stocks

Commodities
Crude Oil
US Gasoline Prices
Natural Gas
Gold
Silver
Copper

Euro
UK Pound
Australia Dollar
Canada Dollar
Brazil Real
Mexico Peso
India Rupee

Antigua & Barbuda
Aruba
Barbados
Cayman Islands
Cuba
Curacao
Dominica

Grenada
Haiti
Jamaica
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Belize
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

Bahamas
Bermuda
Mexico

Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
Uruguay

What's New at LAHT?
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Most Viewed on the Web
Popular on Twitter
Receive Our Daily Headlines


  HOME | Mexico

Cleaning Bones of the Dead, Mexico’s Gesture of Love for the Dearly Departed

HECELCHAKAN, Mexico – Every year in preparation for the Day of the Dead, members of the Pomuch community in southeastern Mexico extract bones from their niches and carefully clean them – a tradition seen as a gesture of love and a way to get closer to deceased family members.

“It’s a tradition we’ve observed for many years with our late grandparents and great-grandparents,” Ruth Ek Chin, an inhabitant of this Mayan community in Campeche state, told EFE.

The white walls of the Pomuch cemetery are full of colorful niches adorned with flowers for the occasion. There the locals carefully clean what they call “the holy remains.”

During the process, which can be done for the first time when a person has been dead for three years, there are those who greet their dear ones and speak with them.

The process is a complete ritual. Small bones are cleaned first, followed by the medium and large ones, with brushes and white cloths used for the cleaning but without any water or other liquid.

Once the beloved bones are ready, they are placed in a wooden box, leaving the skull in the upper part, Jose Cevastian Yam Poot, promoter of the Pomuch culture, told EFE.

Besides being cleaned, every year the dead get a “change of clothing,” which means the white cloth is changed on which the bones are placed.

This piece of cloth has different prints, such as flowers and crosses, depending on the taste for which the departed was known. Formerly the pictures on the cloths were embroidered by hand or machine, but today most are painted.

Cleaning the bones “is a way of expressing love toward the family, a kind of meeting between those who are gone and those who are still here alive,” Jose said.

It is also a tradition full of “respect,” and those who take part in it “cannot behave just any way they choose.”

Members of the community said that the exhumations do not “frighten” them at all. Ruth said that her daughter, for example, isn’t scared by the idea, and even says “mom, when you die I’ll come and clean your little bones.”

The cultural promoter said that. “like most traditions, the cleaning ritual was previously performed by the whole village, but as time passed, the custom has been lost somewhat.”

It is mainly the adults and the elderly who perform the ritual, though there are young people who also take part because it’s something they have had drummed into them, even as little children.

In Pomuch, Oct. 31 is dedicated to paying tribute to children, to those who died when they were little.

Nov. 1 is dedicated to adults, while Nov. 2 is All Saints Day, when people flock to the cemetery with flowers.

 

Enter your email address to subscribe to free headlines (and great cartoons so every email has a happy ending!) from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

 

Copyright Latin American Herald Tribune - 2005-2015 © All rights reserved