While some Belizeans have adapted Halloween from North America, in Belize, the traditions of two cultures are being kept alive by the National Institute of Culture and History, NICH. For the next two weeks, the House of Culture as well as the Museum of Belize are highlighting “El Dia de los Muertos” as observed by the Mestizo culture or “Hanal Pixon” celebrated by the Mayas. The display features two altars, one for children and the other for adults and includes the photographs of Belizean legends.

Shari Williams, Communications Officer, HOC

Shari Williams

“They believe on the thirty first of October the souls return back to earth and it stays for a week so on that day they honor their dead. Life is seen as a coin. On one side there is death and on one side there is life, and in order to celebrate life they believe that you have to celebrate death. You’re praying that their journey is a smooth one, their tradition is a smooth one and so over the years they’ve used their religious beliefs to pray for the souls to go on.

This tradition has been passed down for centuries, from generation to generation and along the way certain things have been added, like the skeletons are used to denote the fact that the souls have departed from their earthly life and are now in another place. The skulls are usually a smiling face, denoting that they’re happy. The rum, the cigarettes and so forth are simply just food that they use to honor this person. Perhaps this person used to enjoy that type of lifestyle. So on that particular day they give them what it is they liked.”

Channel 5