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Return of the Souls

People of different cultures have different beliefs. One such belief is about the soul. According to this faith, a person has two forms. One is the physical form that is visible and mortal. The other is the soul that is invisible and immortal. When a person dies, his or her soul is believed to ascend towards heaven. It returns once every year and stays briefly with its living relatives.

This belief exists in Mexico as in other parts of the world, but it has something very special. The Mexican families believe, when the butterflies (the Monarch) arrive in Mexico about the 1st of November each year, they are supposed to be the returning souls of their dead children and warriors. This is an age old belief dating back to their ancestors, the Aztecs who built an empire from 14th to 16th centuries in Central Mexico. The Aztecs believed in afterlife, where the dead would return as butterflies every year.

To mark the return of the souls, the Mexicans celebrate a cultural festival called, Dia de los Muertos. The festival begins on 31st of August and ends on the 2nd November.

The first day of the festivity is called the Day of the Little Angels. Those families who have lost their children erect an altar in their homes. The photograph of the child is placed on the altar which is decorated with flowers, food, toys and other things the child enjoyed while living. The second day of the festivity is devoted to adults. This is followed by a day of feast, during early morning hours on the 2nd November.

Mexicans not only admire the butterflies, they also worship them. They have established sanctuaries for the butterfly. One such sanctuary is the A El Rosario Sanctuary. Here the Monarch butterflies which arrive from Canada and other northern parts of America, perch on the ground in thousands and appear like a beautiful carpet.

A number of tourists visit Mexico during November and December to watch the butterflies. Mexicans take special care to caution the tourists with the sign boards, “Cuida a la mariposa” which means, “Be careful with butterflies. Don’t mistreat them.”

Sure indeed, the butterflies are the Souls of their loved ones. No insect in the world is treated with this reverence. Nowhere in the world you will notice this special Butterfly connection with the Souls.