The Mexican Day of the Dead is also celebrated in Switzerland. Together, Mexican expats and the Swiss prepare offerings to the deceased in several parts of the country, notably the House of Religions in Bern and the Museum of Ethnography in Neuchatel.
As is tradition, the living and the departed gather on November 1st and 2nd for a celebration, which has been included on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Listexternal link since 2003. It's a celebration that the Mexican embassy and community in Switzerland (about 3,000 people) are trying to maintain in the alpine nation.
"At first, it was like a 'shock' for the Swiss. But we warned them that it was a different view of death. A party where the dead come to visit us and are with us," recalls Margarita Delalay, cultural events manager of the Association of Mexicans and Friends of Mexico (Amexexternal link), in the cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel.
Indeed, the Day of the Dead, with its nostalgic overtones, is above all a moment of joy, reunions, and recognition: the living "receive" their deceased with music, flowers, incense, and their preferred dishes and drinks. They are thus rewarded for feeding with their bodies the land that nourishes the living.