Dia de los Muertos

Silvia Gonzalez, Contributor

Qué va a pasar en México el Día de Muertos? - Photo 3

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a traditional Latin American holiday celebrated on November 1st and November 2nd. It was originally started in Mexico and as a way to celebrate the dead by family members, their loved ones. It’s a celebration where family and friends come together to pay respect to their family and friends who have passed away.

The celebration of Dia de los Muertos consists of families coming together in honor of their loved ones’ passing; it’s a way to keep them alive. The way they honor them is by using calaveras (fake skulls) and aztec marigold flowers known as cempazuchitl, and building ofrendas (offerings) that consists of their favorite things like their favorite foods or drinks. Another way to honor their loved ones is by visiting their graves and bringing their favorite things. Although Dia de los Muertos is to honor the dead, it’s also a way to spend time with family and friends and bring people closer together. Many people use it as a way to give gifts like candy sugared skulls and share the traditional pan de muerto, bread of the dead. 

Altars, called Ofrendas, are traditional in celebrating Dia de los Muertos. They are filled with favorite foods, beverages, photos, and memorabilia of the deceased. This is a way to encourage their loved ones’ souls to visit. They are most common to be made in your own home but many people go to the tomb of the deceased in the cemetery. 

Michoacán celebrará tradición mexicana del Día de Muertos - Los Angeles Times
PC. Los Angeles Times

The way the deceased are celebrated is beautiful. Especially the way the children are celebrated. The children are called los angelitos, the angels, and usually toys are brought to them. There’s a local tradition in the town of Pátzcuaro, Lago de Pátzcuaro, Michoacan. That tradition is for the children. The story goes something likes this: On November 1st a year after the child died, los padrinos, the godparents of the child, set a table in the parents home filled with the child’s favorite things. Sweets, fruits, pan de muerto (bread of the dead), a cross, candles, and a rosary which is used to ask the Virgin Mary to pray for them. It is done to honor the children and show respect and appreciation to the parents.

Day of the dead, more than a cultural expression - The Best Rates in Puerto Vallarta
PC. Hotel Posada de Roger

Although Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico, it is also celebrated in Latin American countries and they each have their own versions of it. For example, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, and anywhere else in the world that Mexican culture is celebrated. Not every place mentioned celebrates Dia de los Muertos but they do celebrate holidays similar, like Hanal Pixan in Belize, Dia de las Ñatitas in Bolivia, and Dia de los Fieis Defuntos in Brazil. 

El Día de los Muertos is very integral aspect of Mexican and Latin American culture. It’s important and special to us to celebrate our loved ones.