If you think Mexico is the only country where the ‘Day Of Deads’ is celebrated, you might be wrong. There are many other countries where rituals are performed to honor and reconnect with the long-gone ancestors.
What are these festivals and where are they celebrated, let’s explore below?
WHERE: North and South Korea
The Koreans tribute their ancestors in the eighth lunar calendar month (roughly September/ October), in a festivity, which also includes dance, food, and common celebrations for three days. The food, especially rice cakes called ‘Songpyeon,’ plays a significant role, primarily as thanks are also given to the dead for their role in providing a good crop. Though, like any other day of the dead around the world, Koreans also clean and decorate the graves; also, they demonstrate their feelings through dancing.
Fiesta de las Ñatitas
La Paz, Bolivia greets an unusual day of the ancestor ritual every November, as the Aymara people head to the central graveyard with their deceased ancestors’ skulls in tow. Displayed in boxes, and frequently decorated with flowers, the skulls are also given gifts (think: food and drink) for having watched out for their friends and families from the land of the dead over the course of last year.
To catch a glimpse of the Nepalese Festival of the Cows A.K.A. Gai Jatra, head to Kathmandu in August or September, where the celebrations last for 8-days, is to reconnect to your ancestors that you never met. Confused about what a Festival of the Cows has to do with your ancestors? Cows are thought to guide the deceased into the spirit world, so families with a lately departed loved ones will guide a cow (or a boy clothed as a cow) throughout the streets to both aid and honor their deceased.
Qingming (a.k.a. Ancestors’ Day)
Tombs cleaning create a huge festival in most parts of China, though consuming dumplings and flying kites are also a part of this festival. Likewise, presenting goods of value in the afterlife—such as joss sticks and tea—is also practiced on Qingming. It’s said in China that this monument to the dead, which takes place in roughly mid-April, was established in a manner to bound the previously overly-overgenerous and all-too-regular ceremonies held in memory of the ancestors.
WHERE: Hindus around the world
Undefined by ecological bounds, Pitru Paksha is a Hindu festival, focused on praying and providing food to the ancestors. Though Pitru Paksha lasts for 16-days, and those who take part in this practice apparently shouldn’t embark on new projects, remove hair, or eat garlic for the duration.