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  • An array of Jamaican foods were included in an exhibition staged as part of the local Dia de los Muertos celebration, which is a popular Mexican tradition dating back more than 1,000 years.
  • Ackee, Jamaican white rum, Red Stripe, coconut water, were part of the three-level “altar” bearing gifts for the dead, which was mounted in the lobby of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters, Mona, Kingston, on Thursday (November 1).

An array of Jamaican foods were included in an exhibition staged as part of the local Dia de los Muertos celebration, which is a popular Mexican tradition dating back more than 1,000 years.

Ackee, Jamaican white rum, Red Stripe, coconut water, were part of the three-level “altar” bearing gifts for the dead, which was mounted in the lobby of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters, Mona, Kingston, on Thursday (November 1).

The exhibit also included Mexican foods; candles; flowers; photographs of Luis Barragan, one of Mexico’s greatest architects; Mario Moreno, a comedian and Juan José Arreola, a leading figure in the literature and cultural journalism of Mexico.

Dia de los Muertos, which is Spanish for ‘Day of the Dead’ is an annual celebration observed in Mexico on November 1 and 2 to remember the deceased. According to the tradition, persons who had died would return to visit their loved ones, who would prepare an altar with food, flowers, clothing and other items that their past relatives had liked.

Speaking at the cultural event, Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Juan González Mijares said the tradition was inscribed in the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008.

He said the tradition of offerings and pilgrimages to cemeteries dates back to Pre-hispanic history and the belief that when human beings die they begin a journey to another world, the Mictlan.

“What we have here is an altar filled with colour and richness. It also has some guests made of pure bones who always arrive and are with us each year…it wouldn’t take long before we start celebrating the great Bob Marley with his guitar and dreadlocks,” he said.

The Ambassador said the ritual has seen renewed momentum in recent times, “but remains focused on the offerings or altars, which we assemble on graves and in homes to remember our loved ones and also some personalities who have contributed to our artistic heritage”.

He said that Mexico is this year celebrating the life and work of Mexico’s icons Luis Barragan, Mario Moreno and Juan José Arreola.

The ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the UWI academic community and the Mexican community in Jamaica.