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All Souls Day celebration takes place in Maya communities

All Souls celebration

All Souls celebration

All Souls celebration

Monday, November 2, 2014. JUAN CAAL Reporting: Maya communities across the southern part of Belize celebrated All Souls this past weekend as part of the traditional Maya culture.

November 1st and November 2nd are important dates in the Maya Culture, days when the memory of loved ones who are departed are especially celebrated.

These two dates, according to tradition, are when the souls of dearly departed loved ones are welcome back to the homes and communities.

Martin Choc

Martin Choc

According to Mr. Martin Choc who has been practicing this tradition for years, over the course of these two days, an altar is prepared with favorite  food and drinks of those who have died.

Traditional food on All Souls Day

Traditional food on All Souls Day

Among the traditional dishes prepared as part of the welcome to the visiting souls is the Caldo.  There is also bread, coffe, cacoa drink and other favourite drinks and foods for our love one who come and visit for 2 days.

“I invoke them with a prayer to the ancestors to allow them to once more come and share a banquet with us as we celebrate once more their walk on this earth,” says Choc.

He goes on to explain that “they have gone but we want them to know that they are not forgotten they live everyday in our memories as we move on.”

All Souls Day celebration

All Souls Day celebration

Choc believes that this traditional, passed down through generations and centuries, must be kept in active practice going forward.

“We honor and pay respect to their souls. They have walk along with us as  we write the history of our culture,” says Choc.

The following two days after November 1st and November 2nd are observed as days of mourning in respect tot he souls as they return back to the other side.

For context, All Souls Day is not exclusive to the Maya culture and, according to online references, is an annual celebration in western Christianity that has been associated with All Saint’s Day on November 1.

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