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Day Of The Dead And San Pasqual Are Not The Same Bones

La Muerte / Santa Muerte

La Muerte / Santa Muerte

San Pasqual Bailon

San Pasqual Bailon

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

San Pasqual Rey, lord of the underworld, is a Mayan saint and is not recognized by the Catholic Church. The Spanish Catholic Saint Paschal Baylon was canonized in 1690 and is the patron saint of cooks. In San Antonio Aguacaliente, Guatemala in 1650, during a smallpox epidemic, a Kaqchikel Mayan dying with fever had a vision of a skeletal figure in a long robe. The figure identified himself as Saint Paschal Baylon. The saint said if the community would adopt him as their patron saint and venerate his image, the epidemic would end in nine days and the man would die. As predicted, the man died and the epidemic ended. The power of San Pasqual spread to other villages despite prohibition from the church. There is today a chapel in Olintepeque, Quezaltenango, Guatemala, dedicated to San Pasqual and maintained by the cofradia. He is depicted as a skeletal figure with a scythe. He wears a crown and has one foot on a globe. Devotees leave thank you notes and burn candles. The color of the candle burned signifies the nature of the request for intercession: red for love, pink for health, yellow for protection, green for business, blue for work, light blue for money, purple for help against vices, white for the protection of children, and black for revenge. A festival is celebrated annually on May 17, the feast day of Saint Paschal Baylon. San Pasqual Rey is also venerated in Patzun, Chimaltenango. Another sacred replica, represented by a seated skeleton in a wheeled cart, is kept in the Church of San Pascualito in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico.. He is not the patron saint of any village but is prayed to in many villages to prevent disease. His appearance is similar to the ancient Mayan god, a ruler of the underworld who reins over a series of diseases, bringing deities or devils. He is also venerated to prevent disease and death during the rites of the New Year.

On October 31 to November 2, Mayans honor their friends and relatives who have died by building home prayer altars, preparing special foods, visiting the graves, and leaving gifts for the departed. The Days of the Dead are filled with images of skeletons, flowers, and candles. These skeleton figures—Day of the Dead—are different and do not represent San Pasqual. They refer to the Aztec Queen of the Underworld—Mictecacihuatl—also called the Lady of the Dead, La Muerte, or Santa Muerte—Saint Death. She appears in the Guatemalan dance The Apocalypse of Saint John as a skeleton figure wearing a shroud. On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.

Thus not every skeleton figure is San Pasqual. The Day of the Dead is celebrated today throughout Mesoamerica, and Saint Death is considered the patron saint of the drug trade and human smugglers. One could argue, however, that the Mayan God A and the Aztec La Muerte are male and female manifestations of the same deity.

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