Viva la Mexico: Celebrating Day of the Dead at Gostiny Dvor

Viva la Mexico: Celebrating Day of the Dead at Gostiny Dvor
Over 20,000 city residents and tourists gathered near the National House of Mexican Fans and celebrated Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) at Gostiny Dvor shopping mall/convention centre. All of them now know that this is not such a serious event.

The National House of Mexican Fans at Gostiny Dvor shopping mall/convention centre became the focus of Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) celebrations.

Indian tribes in what is now Mexico started celebrating this event several thousand years ago. This may sound rather strange today, but the Indians believed that death was merely a transition from one life to another, that people continued to live after undergoing this transformation, and that the souls of the dead could reunite with living people once a year.

Sergio Maldonado who arrived from Mexico to support his national team during the World Cup was surprised to hear that Day of the Dead was scheduled to be held here in midsummer.  “To be honest, people in Mexico mark this event each autumn. But it’s really great to see what the local authorities have done here in Russia. I did not expect this. Although not everyone knows what this is all about, its spirit is conveyed correctly,” he noted.

On that day, Gostiny Dvor accommodated all kinds of spirits who scared no one because the aim of the event is to honour ancestors once again.

It may be strange, but most people attending the event did not queue for food, although they were offered traditional burritos. On the contrary, they wanted to wear La Calavera Catrina (The Elegant Skull) makeup with the main symbol of the event.

“Makeup should have something to do with death. Yes, skulls against a background are the most important thing. But this makeup should not look frightening because this is a good and happy occasion. Therefore makeup is always supplemented with various flowers and ornaments,” makeup artist Polina Ivanova explained. 

There were skulls everywhere, including several dozen embroidered ones with multi-coloured silk threads and beads at a small pavilion. But they scared no one, with people posing for photos with them time and again. Other exhibits included a beaded version of the World Cup Trophy.

“The artist worked painstakingly every day for about three months to complete this piece of work. This unique World Cup Trophy was made using the Vochili embroidery technique,” craftsman Geronimo Martinez noted.

Apart from decorations, live music resounding on stage created an atmosphere of a real Mexican carnival. Although the skeletons were not allowed to march through Red Square, the entire city already knows how Mexicans celebrate this ‘macabre’ event.

For centuries, the people of Mexico have been celebrating Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) every 1-2 November. According to popular belief, the souls of the deceased return to their homes on these days. It is customary to welcome them merrily and to shower them with gifts. The La Calavera Catrina (The Elegant Skull) engraving by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, the modern symbol of this event, shows a woman with the face of a skeleton and dressed like a member of high society. The picture’s main idea is that the rich are just as mortal as everybody else.

This story courtesy of the First Student Agency’s correspondents