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Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead at Tehran exhibit
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An altar of the dead is on display at the Mexican Embassy in Tehran. The installation was set up by the embassy to celebrate the Day of the Dead tradition. (Photo by Mexican Embassy)
An altar of the dead is on display at the Mexican Embassy in Tehran. The installation was set up by the embassy to celebrate the Day of the Dead tradition. (Photo by Mexican Embassy)
TEHRAN -- The Mexican Embassy in Tehran is currently playing host to an exhibition, which has been organized to celebrate the tradition of the Day of the Dead at the Cultural Department of the embassy.
 
The exhibition presents an example of an altar of the dead, which Mexicans set up in their homes and some other places every year on November 1 and 2.
 
A closing ceremony has been arranged for the exhibit for Thursday evening.
 
“Cuatro cirios para mi cadaver” (Four Candles for My Cadaver), a play by Mexican writer Tomas Urtusastegui will be performed in Spanish by Iranian actor Ramin Nassernasir during the ceremony.
 
Only the people who carry invitation cards will be allowed entry to the ceremony.
 
The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Difuntos or Dia de Muertos in Spanish) is an ancient Aztec celebration of the memory of deceased ancestors that is celebrated on November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and November 2 (All Souls’ Day).
 
In most localities, November 1 is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored on November 2.
 
The holiday is especially popular in Mexico where it is a national holiday. It is also celebrated in the Philippines, in Mexican-American communities in the United States, and to a lesser extent, in other Latin American countries.
 
It is a public holiday in Brazil, where many Brazilians celebrate it by visiting cemeteries and churches, bringing flowers, lighting candles and praying.
 
At home members of the family might purchase items to elaborate an altar in honor of deceased relatives, decorating it with papel picado (paper cutouts), candles, flowers, photographs of the departed, candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased, and a selection of his or her favorite foods and beverages.
 
In setting up the altar, a designated area of the home is cleared of its normal furnishings. The arrangement often consists of a table and several overturned wooden crates placed in tiers and covered with clean linens. The offerings are then laid out in an artistic and fairly symmetrical fashion. The smell of burning copal (incense) and the light of numerous candles are intended to help the departed find their way.
 
The Mexican Embassy had celebrated the occasion during exhibitions in Isfahan in 2005 and Tehran in 2006.
 
MMS/YAW
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