The papel picado of Day of the Dead is a tradition in Mexico that perfectly represents the relation that is held between the country and death. Day of the Dead is one of the most important celebrations in Mexico, where houses, graveyards, and some public areas are filled with colors, candles, flowers, and delicious food prepared specifically for those who are no longer with us.
One of the many things that give this celebration color and joy is the papel picado, made mainly with multicolored China paper, with themes alluding to death. Other decorations include skulls, catrinas, flowers, animals, plants, and the names of the deceased. Day of the Dead is a time in the year that brings families together to remember the people that they have lost and celebrate their lives instead of mourning them.
The Origin of Papel Picado for the Day of the Dead
This unique decoration with paper has been constant throughout history across many cultures. Chinese culture was one of the main promoters for its creation and development, but it has made its way across different countries, being used for parties and other celebrations. The Spanish already had a decorative use to use paper in different types of events like weddings and festivities dating back to before the conquest of America, and once they settled in the new continent, they have a unique and custom meaning to paper decorations.
In Mexico, there was a tradition of including amate paper (made from the pulp of the fig and mulberry trees) in the creation of codex’s, offerings, and currently the papel picado used in a festive way to decorate streets, houses, and places of celebration. However, it has acquired roots and a meaning during the Day of the Dead that surpasses other celebrations.
Common Decorations for Day of the Dead
On the eve of Day of the Dead, it is very common to find vendors with a wide variety of products typical during this celebration, including flowers, sugar skulls, Mexican sweets, and of course, an incredible amount of confetti in different designs and colors. San Salvador Huixcolotla, a town that is dedicated to the long-time elaboration of these products, is considered the backbone of confetti and cultural heritage for the state of Puebla in Mexico.
Though the decorations are a big part for some of those in Mexico, not everyone decorates their homes with purchased decorations. Instead, they prefer to use what they have to keep the tradition alive and share it with future decorations. There are also those who seek to personalize their altars with their own designs, something that no other family would be able to find in any store.
How this Unique Shredded Paper is Made
No matter where you are in the world, if you would like to celebrate the Day of the Dead, we want to help you create this beautiful decoration. So, we are going to explain a step-by-step process on how you can create your own papel picado so that you can also celebrate one of the most important days of Mexican Culture.
Prepare first by buying China paper in the colors of your choice. You will also need cardboard, scissors, a pencil, glue, thread, and a knife. (If you are a minor, ask your parents to help you so that you avoid any risk)
First things first, fold the cardboard in half and create the design you want with a pencil. After your design is ready, cut the lines marked with the knife without unfolding the cardboard so you can achieve an asymmetrical cut on both sides.
Now that you have your template, fold the china paper to match the fold with that of the cutout cardboard so that it can guide you. Make your cut with the scissors and leave a longer tab at the top to glue the paper flags over the thread.
A Special Day of the Dead
If you want to witness the entire experience of Day in the Dead in Mexico, then Sandos Caracol is the perfect place to do so! During these special days, guests can experience all the traditions that made this celebration an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Guests will find traditional gastronomy such as the famous bread of the dead (don’t worry, it is not prepared with anything dead), Mexican dishes such as mole, and typical sweets. There is also a unique costume parade with catrinas, very elegant skeletons, altars, and offerings to the dead.
Here you will find traditional gastronomy such as the famous bread of the dead (which is not prepared with anything dead), Mexican dishes such as mole, and a wide variety of typical sweets. You will also witness a unique costume parade with catrinas and very elegant deaths, as well as the creation of altars and offerings to the dead. There is also incredible music with regional Mexican sounds ranging from mariachi and cumbia bands. Get ready because these bands give the festive touch to the return of our lost loved ones to the earthly plane.
If you can’t wait until November, don’t worry because, at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, there is a new entertainment program that has welcomed a tribute to this tradition one night every week.
Now that you have all the information you need, don’t you want to experience this tradition in one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean?