The Mexican Embassy yesterday honoured writers Sir Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, Sir V. S. Naipaul, Sergio Pitol and Octavio Paz, during its celebrations of this year’s Day of the Dead.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Mexican Ambassador to Guyana Ivan Roberto Sierra-Medel explained that the festival is a combination of traditions that honour and celebrate family and friends who have passed away.
“It is deeply entrenched into the Mexican society because it has historical roots leading to the aesthetics and even before that time when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century in Mexico… The Catrina tradition also blended with Hispanic tradition… For Mexicans to celebrate and honour our ancestors it is as a very sacred practice because we owe them respect and it is thanks to them that we are here,” Sierra-Medel told DPI.
The Ambassador noted that while the holiday originated in Mexico, it is celebrated across Latin America with colourful Calaveras (skulls) and Calacas (skeletons) as the trademark decorations.
He pointed out that the altar is not for worshipping but to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. “The altar is actually filled with offerings such as water to quench thirst after the long journey, traditional food and drink, skulls, candles and Marigolds (Flower of The Dead) to decorate the altar among others that will transmit praise, prayers and purifies the area around the altar,” the Mexican Ambassador said.
The ambassador urged all Guyanese to visit the embassy and view the altar dedicated in honour of the well-known authors and others.