Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Funerary Rites

If you visit Mexico during the Day of the Dead season you will find "ofrendas", the altars honoring the dead, everywhere.  They are set up not only in families' homes, but in churches, museums, restaurants and other places of business. 

On Sunday, Alejandro, his friend Darryl, and I set off to do some sightseeing along Mexico City's main boulevard, the Paseo de la Reforma.  We got off the Metrobus and walked through the "Reforma 222 Shopping Mall" to reach the boulevard.  The mall always has a Day of the Dead display.  This year, instead of the typical "ofrenda", there was a display representing the funerary rites of three different cultures.  The figures were made of cardboard and papier mache similar to the "alebrijes" that we saw the day before in the parade.  Most of the characters in the scenes were represented as "calacas"... skeletons.

I guess in ancient Mesopotamia, funerals were celebrated with drinking.

Ancient Egypt was represented with figures of their gods, a mummy case, and a priest wrapping a mummy in strips of linen.

In a scene representing the Mayan culture, a shaman lays to rest the body of Pakal, the king of the Mayan city of Palenque.  The king's body was adorned with jade jewelry and a jade burial mask.

Centuries later, archaeologists discovered Pakal's tomb, and today the jade jewelry with which he was buried can be seen in the National Museum of Anthropology.

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