Coco from Pixar Studios is available today on Disney +. The animated film by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina takes place during the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Zoom on this colorful and festive tribute ceremony.
Released in our theaters in 2017, Coco by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina takes place in Mexico, during the Day of the Dead. Miguel, a young boy who dreams of becoming a musician grows up in a family where music has been banned for several generations. Determined to prove his talent, Miguel, by a strange combination of circumstances, finds himself propelled into a place as astonishing as it is colorful: the Land of the Dead. There, he befriends Hector, a nice boy who is a bit tricky around the edges. Together, they will accomplish an extraordinary journey that will reveal to them the true story behind that of Miguel’s family.
This musical and colorful film from Pixar studios is beautiful and takes us on a great human adventure. Coco transports us to Mexico during the feast of the dead and shows us the importance that this feast has for the living and for the deceased … El Día de Muertos is not a tearful or sad ceremony, on the contrary. Mexicans celebrate their dead there, they pay them a cheerful and colorful tribute where everything is codified. Catholic beliefs and Aztec customs mingle during 3 days of homage.
The Day of the Dead has existed in Mexico for over 3000 years, this commemoration takes place on October 31 and generally continues on the first 2 days of November. During this period, each family erects an altar in honor of their deceased. The first part is devoted to the “angelitos”, the dead children. On the evening of October 31, families have sweet snacks on the dedicated altars, and on the morning of November 1, breakfast. The tribute then passes to the adults.
Traditionally altars consist of several levels symbolizing the different places crossed by the soul. The portrait of the loved one is placed above, in the center, facing a mirror so that the latter can see the reflection of his relatives. Around, are arranged personal objects and offerings: flowers, candles, crucifixes, the favorite dishes of the deceased, incense to drive away evil spirits, papel picado (paper garlands, often in the form of skeletons or skulls) and the famous calaveras, sugar, chocolate or plastic skulls on which the names of the deceased are inscribed. A tradition dating back to the Aztecs.
Above the altar we often find marigolds, these flowers symbolize the radiance of the sun and signify to the deceased that he always has his place among his family. Candles are placed everywhere, they are supposed to lead the dead to their altar. During this period, families also clean graves and decorate them. At this time of the year everything is decorated and flowered in honor of the missing persons: souls are pampered, celebrated and escorted back once the party is over. Indeed, on the last day, the families meet in the cemetery and celebrate: people eat and dance. A cheerful way to say goodbye and “see you next year” to loved ones.
The Day of the Dead is a real celebration, it is also one of the most important festivals of the year in Mexico. The festivities may differ depending on the state, but all are joyful and rich in emotion. Some cities, such as Mexico City, organize parades. El Día de Muertos is even listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.
Coco shows the importance of this celebration for the living and especially for the dead: like Hector. Little by little forgotten from the world of the living, he begins to disappear from the Land of the dead and will do everything to ensure that his family places his photo on the altar. The result is a happy movie that shows that death is not an end but a continuity and that it is important to continue to cherish loved ones even in the Hereafter.
Available today on Disney +
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