DAY OF THE DEAD
Dia De Los Muertos, known as, “Day of the Dead” in English. The holiday was first celebrated by various indigenous groups in Mexico thousands of years ago, and continues to mainly be observed in Mexico, but also other parts of the world now. It is celebrated from November 1st through November 2nd.
What is it? Essentially it is a celebration of life, a time to remember and celebrate the lives of people we loved who have passed on. Please note, Dia De Los Muertos has absolutely no correlation to the American holiday, Halloween.
So how is Dia De Los Muertos celebrated? Well, it is a Mexican celebration after all. Imagine lots of colors, music, food, excitement, dancing, parades, and dressing up along with catrina makeup! The celebration is meant to include the dead, because after all they are still part of their families and communities through their memories and spirit.
In order to include the dead, an altar, or ofrenda, is made in memory of them. Ofrendas include favorite items of the dead, food, photos, flowers, skulls, and other items. Important items you may see at an ofrenda are… water: to relieve them after a long journey, candles: for each dead relative, Pan de Muerto: bread of the dead, bones: underneath we are all the same, a skeleton, and Marigolds: Cempasuchil, the gold petals help lead the dead back to their resting place.
A prominent symbol during Dia De Los Muertos are calaveras, skulls. People will dress up and paint their faces with amazing designs for skulls and other bones on their body. The meaning behind it is, underneath it all; our culture, our skin color, and who we are, we are a skeleton, a body held up by bones. It’s incredible to see the different designs, ideas, and artistry that people put into dressing up and their makeup every year.
It truly is a beautiful holiday. People gather together with family, friends, and their community to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have moved on. Sharing stories of people, singing, dancing, and celebrating the beautiful people who were in their lives. In some cultures death is seen as tragic, sad, and an end, but Dia de los Muertos continues to celebrate a person’s life even after they have moved on. It gives their loved ones something to look forward to, to celebrate, and to remember how special they were. Their spirit continues to live on as they are remembered each year.
Honestly, Disney and Pixar’s movie, Coco is a fantastic movie to watch to gain a better understanding of the holiday. It’s a fun and emotional movie to watch with the whole family.
Try putting an ofrenda together for a loved one this year. It can be as simple as a photo, candle, and flowers, or you can cook their favorite meal, include their favorite things, and hold a celebration for them!