Arts & Entertainment

‘Biguie,’ the Zapotec Day of the Dead

Juchitan, Mexico, Oct 30 (EFE).- The living and dead Zapotecs of Juchitan de Zaragoza, in the southern state of Oaxaca meet the souls of their deceased relatives and friends twice a year in a spiritual encounter the first during Holy Week and the second in the celebration of “Biguie.”

“Biguie” is a Zapotec word that means Days of the Dead and is celebrated on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.

From a chair, Irma Santiago, 74, gives precise instructions to her children and grandchildren to install in the most important place of her house, offerings for her husband who passed away in November 2021.

“He liked apples, pears and tamales, it is the custom that now they are with us and if he is here,” she said referring to her husband Candido Toledo, adding that his memory causes her to cry.

Candido’s portrait was placed in the center of the offering by his son Víctor, who remembers his father as the most important person in his life.

“He will always be present in me and we are waiting for him to come and be with us, even if it is for a while because I really do believe that they do return to visit his loved ones,” he said

Three blocks from there, relatives and neighbors helped to place the altar for the sister of Mariano Morales, Micaela, who died at 84 in February.

“And today we remember her and we continue to maintain that belief that they actually come with us, we do not see them physically and today we are waiting for my sister, who was our mother figure,” Mariano told EFE.

“Biguie” apart from summoning the souls of the deceased, also brings together living, relatives, friends and neighbors, who go from house to house offering their help for the installation of the altars and sharing and receiving offerings such as mole tamales accompanied, chicken and boiled eggs.

Homes are adorned from the door frame by intertwined reeds that simulate an arch through which the soul will enter to be received. Inside, the altar is adorned with fruit and bread, which will be accompanied by candles that will illuminate the photo of the deceased. EFE


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