La Flor de Los Muertos: CEMPASÚCHIL
Por Mónica Belén
What a beautiful flower peeks out from the altar of the dead, bursting with life amidst so much glitter of death, leading the souls to the place prepared for their annual feast, orange, red, beautiful bird of a thousand wings, it looks like fire to the eye and velvet to the touch. Its scent announces the time when THEY return and the perennial essence of love for those who have gone. Such is the beauty of the Cempasúchil the flower of "many flowers together" in its name keeps this essence: it comes from the Nahuatl cempoalli meaning many or 20, Xóchitl is flower. Behind it there is an Aztec love story.
Xochitl was a beautiful young woman, her long black hair reached the waist of her beautiful figure, her dark skin, black eyes sparkling like stars, Huitzilin a young Aztec warrior with broad shoulders and athletic gait, both professed a sweet and sincere love for each other since they were children. They used to see each other in the afternoons after Huitzilin finished his duties at the Calmécac (school for warriors and nobles) and they would go to the mountain where there was a temple dedicated to Tonatiuh, the sun god, whom they both worshipped with devotion.
One day Huitzilin swore eternal love to Xochitl having the mountain as a witness, she did the same, with Tonatiuh as a witness they sealed their commitment, some time passed and the war with other towns broke out, Huitzilin as a warrior had to go to defend the domains of the Aztec Empire, it is not known in which direction he ran, he took the hands of his beloved and promised to return to be married. Xochitl waited a long time, but he did not return. Desperate Xochitl searched for him in distant lands for four long years until one day she learned that he had died in battle. "Do not cry child, he is already in the Tonatiuhichan (the sky of the warriors) next to the sun" they told her.
She knew that if this was the case they could never be together, only warriors could enter that heaven, no one else. Then it happened that in her sadness she implored the sun god, Tonatiuh, to allow her to be with him, days and nights of supplication passed, the cries of pain reached the heart of the sun, moved he bathed her with his fulminating rays, tenderly and lovingly, her crying ceased, her skin was illuminated and transformed into a beautiful flower that keeps within itself the colors of the sun itself. At the same time a hummingbird came to meet her, it was her beloved, who as a warrior who died in battle had become this beautiful bird after having served his time in the sky of warriors.
This is how the Cempasúchil flower became the emblem of the Day of the Dead tradition in Mexico, because it reminds us that LOVE BEATS DEATH.