La muerte en danza: lo macabro en el arte, el teatro y la fiesta popular en la península ibérica
Death has always been accompanied by a set of ceremonies tending both to console the living and to help the dead in their last journey, and this habit exists since time immemorial. The Romans used to leave food and drink on the tombs for the dead to feast upon, and to celebrate a festival dedicated to the dead with flower offerings and dressing in white. Today’s funeral of Carnival can be viewed as a distant echo of that Roman ceremony. In the Middle Ages, the Church tried to eradicate the cult of the dead and the habit of leaving offerings for the spirits, but very little could be done against the lore regarding the dead coming back to life that was very popular at the time. The Church’s solution was to christianise the pagan legends by changing the spirits into souls asking for prayers (sinners who could not find peace after death and came back to haunt the living), and by making a profit out of it via the masses, prayers and ceremonies that were deemed useful to ward off evil spirits or to help some worthy souls to reach the Paradise.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Francesc Massip, "La muerte en danza: lo macabro en el arte, el teatro y la fiesta popular en la península ibérica", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, XV (2009), pp. 11-27