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Bringing Traditions to Life

Bringing Traditions to Life

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

November 6, 2019

HR Regional Director of Mexico and Latin America, Francisco Monterrubio Santa Maria, talks about the importance of celebrating Día de Muertos as a village.

"Maintaining a strong identity strengthens our individual bonds and makes us stronger as a team"

On November 1, Havas Mexico celebrated Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), a traditional holiday where family members and friends who have died are believed to rejoin the living for just one night. The colorful festivities are a celebration of the lives lived and an important annual marker throughout Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. During Havas Mexico’s celebration, vibrant altars (ofrendas) were adorned with flowers, favorite foods, and trinkets of the departed to encourage them to return to the land of the living. The village embraced the tradition with poetry and elaborate costumes to celebrate the culture that makes this region unique.

From the village’s base in Mexico City, Francisco Monterrubio Santa Maria explains the significance of Día de Muertos and why keeping cultural traditions alive makes Havas stronger as a group.

 

Tell us a little bit about Día de Muertos and why it’s important to you and your colleagues at Havas Mexico.

The Día de Muertos celebration is an ancient Mexican tradition that combines pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals into a unique and eclectic mix. For one night, our deceased loved ones can rejoin the living. We set up altars as an offering for them, and it is a real feast of fragrance, color, flavor, and music. It reminds those of us who continue on earth not to forget that death is only a transition to the eternal. Havas Mexico is full of talented people; people who share, inspire, and create. Celebrating our traditions helps us generate a unique identity, which is part of our culture as a country.

How important is it to retain individual culture while being a part of a global network?

We work in villages and we know that each village has to be unique; as unique as the people within it, as unique as its location and culture. Maintaining a strong identity strengthens our individual bonds and makes us stronger as a team. The village lifestyle encourages participation and creativity by putting a multitude of resources within our reach to celebrate our traditions.

"Understanding what each country values and how they live helps us understand the thinking and the ideas of the group"

Do you think that learning about other cultures throughout the global Havas network makes our work stronger?

Understanding what each country values, how they live, and what their habits are helps us understand the thinking and the ideas of each group. In this way, we can find better solutions for our clients because we are connected as audiences internally. We can propose better strategies that generate loyalty for our customers. We value our internal audiences and that allows us to produce strong connections for our external audiences.

The ofrenda is a central component of any Día de Muertos celebration. How did the village celebrate this aspect of the tradition?

The best way to share, create, and inspire was to organize a series of activities that highlight our village and the people who inhabit it. We developed three great categories in a competition for our collaborators to participate in: Ofrendas, Calaveritas Literarias (short poems), and a Parade of Catrinas. Each team was responsible for the creativity, shape, and size of their ofrendas, poems, and costumes that represented Día de Muertos.

You supported artisan producers in Oaxaca on the day. How did this give life to some of the traditions and what are some of the businesses that are featured?

It is Havas’ mission to make a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people. This encourages us to be better together by carrying out initiatives and commitments around labor inclusion, gender equality, social responsibility, and sustainability.

On this occasion, we decided to support the Triqui communitynative people located west of the state of Oaxacahere in Mexico. They keep our traditions alive year after year with their customs. They created handmade Pan de Muerto (a traditional bread), which is a typical ancestral Mexican gastronomy for Día de Muertos celebrations. The Pan de Muerto is the representation of the faithfully departed. Many people buy it to decorate their ofrendas or simply to eat it with delicious chocolate or coffee this season. This is of great importance for the local economy.

Beyond Día de Muertos, how does the village celebrate its Mexican culture throughout the year?

Throughout the year, we celebrate and share our culture through different activities or initiatives, including Dia de Reyes (celebration of the epiphany) in January, Independence Day in September, Día de Muertos in October and November, and our Christmas party in December. We want each celebration to be based on our values and remind us that people are the heart of our business.

"Maintaining a strong identity strengthens our individual bonds and makes us stronger as a team"

On November 1, Havas Mexico celebrated Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), a traditional holiday where family members and friends who have died are believed to rejoin the living for just one night. The colorful festivities are a celebration of the lives lived and an important annual marker throughout Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. During Havas Mexico’s celebration, vibrant altars (ofrendas) were adorned with flowers, favorite foods, and trinkets of the departed to encourage them to return to the land of the living. The village embraced the tradition with poetry and elaborate costumes to celebrate the culture that makes this region unique.

From the village’s base in Mexico City, Francisco Monterrubio Santa Maria explains the significance of Día de Muertos and why keeping cultural traditions alive makes Havas stronger as a group.

 

Tell us a little bit about Día de Muertos and why it’s important to you and your colleagues at Havas Mexico.

The Día de Muertos celebration is an ancient Mexican tradition that combines pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals into a unique and eclectic mix. For one night, our deceased loved ones can rejoin the living. We set up altars as an offering for them, and it is a real feast of fragrance, color, flavor, and music. It reminds those of us who continue on earth not to forget that death is only a transition to the eternal. Havas Mexico is full of talented people; people who share, inspire, and create. Celebrating our traditions helps us generate a unique identity, which is part of our culture as a country.

How important is it to retain individual culture while being a part of a global network?

We work in villages and we know that each village has to be unique; as unique as the people within it, as unique as its location and culture. Maintaining a strong identity strengthens our individual bonds and makes us stronger as a team. The village lifestyle encourages participation and creativity by putting a multitude of resources within our reach to celebrate our traditions.

"Understanding what each country values and how they live helps us understand the thinking and the ideas of the group"

Do you think that learning about other cultures throughout the global Havas network makes our work stronger?

Understanding what each country values, how they live, and what their habits are helps us understand the thinking and the ideas of each group. In this way, we can find better solutions for our clients because we are connected as audiences internally. We can propose better strategies that generate loyalty for our customers. We value our internal audiences and that allows us to produce strong connections for our external audiences.

The ofrenda is a central component of any Día de Muertos celebration. How did the village celebrate this aspect of the tradition?

The best way to share, create, and inspire was to organize a series of activities that highlight our village and the people who inhabit it. We developed three great categories in a competition for our collaborators to participate in: Ofrendas, Calaveritas Literarias (short poems), and a Parade of Catrinas. Each team was responsible for the creativity, shape, and size of their ofrendas, poems, and costumes that represented Día de Muertos.

You supported artisan producers in Oaxaca on the day. How did this give life to some of the traditions and what are some of the businesses that are featured?

It is Havas’ mission to make a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people. This encourages us to be better together by carrying out initiatives and commitments around labor inclusion, gender equality, social responsibility, and sustainability.

On this occasion, we decided to support the Triqui communitynative people located west of the state of Oaxacahere in Mexico. They keep our traditions alive year after year with their customs. They created handmade Pan de Muerto (a traditional bread), which is a typical ancestral Mexican gastronomy for Día de Muertos celebrations. The Pan de Muerto is the representation of the faithfully departed. Many people buy it to decorate their ofrendas or simply to eat it with delicious chocolate or coffee this season. This is of great importance for the local economy.

Beyond Día de Muertos, how does the village celebrate its Mexican culture throughout the year?

Throughout the year, we celebrate and share our culture through different activities or initiatives, including Dia de Reyes (celebration of the epiphany) in January, Independence Day in September, Día de Muertos in October and November, and our Christmas party in December. We want each celebration to be based on our values and remind us that people are the heart of our business.

Patricia Murphy is a content creator with a background in digital health and lifestyle journalism. She loves to chat and tell stories.

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