A new skin set coming to Fortnite adopts the cultural appearance of the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), allowing players to catch a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of Mexico and the Mexican peoples. This iconic holiday now coincides with Halloween celebrations throughout the world, as well as the three day celebrations of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day in the Catholic tradition.
Día de Muertos in Fortnite
So long as Fortnite remains a game with a global reach, it will be in a position to both explore and expose people to cultural traditions throughout the world unlike any other game. While the skin set itself can be seen as simply another potential appearance for players to adopt, it’s worth looking into the cultural heritage and background behind it to understand why its inclusion is both welcome and beneficial.
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While it often gets confused for Halloween, Día de Muertos is a purely Mexican celebration. Its current iteration adopts many features from other traditions, especially the three day long Catholic celebrations of the dearly departed. However, its aesthetic and history stretches back before the Catholic colonization of the Americas.
Día de Muertos takes many of its traits from the Aztec people who controlled much of central Mexico at the time of colonization, and this is the version presented in Fortnite. However, there is a similar celebration at the same time called Hanal Pixan, a Mayan holiday which shares many of the same themes.
One of the common misinterpretations of these events is that they are somehow a celebration of death, but that would be missing the point entirely. The reason for the holiday is actually to celebrate life, and part of that is to remember and honor the dead. Some believe that if the living know they will be remembered in death, they will be more comfortable and more righteous in life.
These beliefs, although rooted in some indigenous American cultures, did not clash with coexisting Catholic beliefs. That is why a country which is over 80% Catholic is so comfortable celebrating what began as non-Catholic religious practices.
Today, Día de Muertos is more of a cultural and national event than a religious one, a unifying and purely Mexican affair. While the holiday is tied to the country, Fortnite players from Mexico, of Mexican heritage, or simply curious about Mexican culture may be interested in this skin set.
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While it may only be a small addition to Fortnite, the inclusion of such an important and culturally rich celebration into a game with a global reach is a great way to show that all people are welcome in Fortnite.