Dia de los Muertos – A Celebration of Life? Yes!
In American culture, we are so used to Halloween. Even though Halloween is traditionally celebrated on October 31st, the whole month of October seems to be dedicated to Halloween. It isn’t uncommon to see people hanging up decorations, getting candy ready, people dressing up in sexy and scary costumes and awesome parties. However, there is another holiday out there that coincides with Halloween, but isn’t exactly Halloween. This holiday is called Day of the Dead.
Day of the Dead, commonly known as Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that takes place on October 31st through November 2nd. While this holiday bears a resemblance to Halloween, it is nothing like Halloween. Many people often confuse Day of the Dead for Halloween because of the decorations, the face paint, the costumes and the celebrations that take place. However, in Mexico and other Latin American countries, these decorations, costumes and celebrations hold a much deeper significance to people.
Unlike Halloween, Day of the Dead isn’t a holiday where you dress up and eat candy. It’s a holiday where you celebrate the dead – literally! Even though death is considered a sad time in many countries, Day of the Dead takes a different approach at death by celebrating the life and times of those who have passed. It allows people to feel closer and more connected to their deceased loved ones by celebrating them.
During Day of the Dead, it is tradition to build and decorate an altar for deceased loved ones. Typically, these altars are constructed right at the gravesite of the deceased person. That’s right, on the Day of the Dead, be prepared to spend time in the graveyard to be closer to your loved ones! Along with the altars, offerings are also prepared for the dead.
Offerings, also known as Ofrendas, aren’t complicated at all, and each offering is different. Offerings are usually food and drink related items that were favorites of the deceased person, or favorite items, such as toys, games, or anything else that was precious to the deceased person. It is also tradition to offer cempasúchiles, which is another term for Mexican marigolds (a flower). It is said that these flowers help the deceased find their way back to the world of the living. In addition to offerings, it is also tradition to create or buy sugar skulls for Day of the Dead festivities.
These Day of the Dead festivities aren’t complete without sugar skulls! In fact, sugar skulls are the primary symbol of Day of the Dead, and they hold a lot of significance for this holiday. Sugar skulls are often decorated with bright colors and designs and often have the name of the deceased person on the forehead of the skull. The skulls can be edible, or they can be used as ornaments and offerings. Skulls in general are a big part of the Day of the Dead celebrations.
When you see people dressing up for the holiday, it is not uncommon to see them with skull designs painted on their face, or skull designs on their costumes. Skeletons and skulls are a symbol of life after death. On these skulls, you may even see cobweb designs or floral designs. Cobwebs are a symbol of death, while flowers are a symbol of life. You will typically see cobweb designs on the forehead, while floral designs are around the eyes.
All in all, Day of the Dead is a celebration where families honor the lives of their deceased loved ones. It is a holiday filled with joy, happiness and remembering those who have passed. It is not uncommon to give offerings to the dead, create sugar skulls, dress up in decorative costumes, visit the graves of your loved ones and spend time with your family. Death isn’t meant to be a sad thing, as long as you honor and remember those who have passed. That is what Day of the Dead is all about.