I came across this great animated movie named Coco- which won 2017 Academy award as best animated movie in 2017. This film is based on the Rivera family based in Mexico. What amazed me was the similarities between the Indian way of treating or worshiping the forefathers who are dead with the Mexican culture.
Story of COCO-
A family of husband, wife and little girl Coco who was into the music, got disturbed when the husband leaves the family to achieve name in music world and never returns. The wife decide to up bring her daughter and decides to make shoes. She involves her daughter, son-in-law and soon other relatives get into the business and become big name in the shoe industry. They abandon music from their lives.
The great-great grandson Miguel however is big music fan and consider a musician Ernesto de la Cruz as his idol. There is a festival in Mexico named Día de los Muertos which means “Day of the day”, on this day families remember their dead relatives keep their photo and offer them what they liked. In the offerings there is picture of Miguel’s great great grandmother along with his great great grandfather but the face from the photo is torn but he has guitar in his hand, which is same as the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz, which makes Miguel believe that Ernesto de la Cruz is his great great grandfather.
Miguel wants to take part in the competition and let world know he is great great grandson of the greatest musician ever, but Miguel’s grandmother breaks his guitar. So he tries to steal Ernesto’s guitar from museum, and get cursed and reaches in the world of dead. (To know further story please read this article )
The similarities between Mexican and Indian culture
1. Your offerings reach to your forefathers
In a movie you could see, the dead visiting the family, takes the shadow of what he has been offered, similarly in Indian customs, we offer food to the crow in Pitru Paksha.
2. Our forefathers knows us
In one scene when Miguel’s great great grand mother sees Miguel for the first time, she calls him by his name, but she died even before Miguel was born, so how could she know Miguel’s name? This is related to the belief that our forefathers are watching us, taking care of us.
3. Even our forefathers have to leave their world of dead
Hector’s so called uncle says he is finishing and disappears as the movie reveals one concept that our forefathers can survive if we remember them, once they are forgotten they have to leave that world.
In Sanatan Dharma, we worship our forefathers but in more scientific manner. In the Bhadrapada month (Usually September), there is a ritual of Shraddha, where we prepare food for the forefathers and offer that to the priest and the crows. This ritual is done either day wise, as the day on which the relative passed away and if the exact day in not known, specific dates are dedicated to the categories of relatives to be offered.
And like Día de los Muertos, we have Sarva-Pitri-Amavasya on that day, the offerings reach to all the once who are not alive.