The Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated annually on November 1st and 2nd. The holiday originated centures ago with the Aztecs, who believed that the dead could visit their relatives once a year. Today, the holiday is still widely celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
Things to Know About The Day of The Dead
1. The Day of the Dead is a holiday with a long and complicated history. It is actually a combination of two different traditions: the Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl and the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day celebrations. Over time, these two traditions have merged to create the holiday that is celebrated today.
2. It’s believed that during the day, the dead can visit their relatives who are still alive. That’s why altars are often set up in homes with pictures of deceased loved ones, as well as their favorite foods and drinks.
3. Another tradition is to decorate skulls made out of sugar or paper mache. These “sugar skulls” often have the name of the person they represent written on them.
4. One of the most iconic symbols of the Day of the Dead is the marigold flower. Marigolds are thought to guide the dead to their altars, and their strong scent is said to help mask the smells of death. The flowers are used in a variety of ways during Day of the Dead festivities, including decorating altars and gravesites, making garlands, and creating floral designs on faces. Marigolds are also believed to have healing properties, and they are often used in traditional Day of the Dead medicine.
5. One of the most popular foods eaten on Dia de Los Muertos is pan de Muerto, which translates to “bread of the dead.” This sweet bread is often decorated with bones or crosses on top and is eaten as an offering to departed loved ones.
6. Ofrendas, or offerings, are also given to the dead as a way to thank them for visiting. Common offerings include fruits, nuts, tamales, candles, and incense.
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7. While Halloween in the United States is all about scares, Dia de Los Muertos is actually a happy time when people celebrate life rather than death.
8. There are many different Dia de Los Muertos traditions throughout Mexico, as each region has its own unique take on the holiday.
9. The holiday has been gaining popularity outside of Mexico in recent years, with celebrations happening in cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and even London.
10 . Dia de Los Muertos was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list back in 2008!
11. One of the most famous Dia de Los Muertos celebrations takes place in the city of Oaxaca, where locals dress up in traditional Zapotec costumes and parade through the streets.
12. In Mexico, it’s common to see people wearing skull masks or face paint during Dia de Los Muertos. This is meant to represent the idea that death is a natural part of life.
Dia de Los Muertos is a fascinating holiday with a rich history dating back thousands of years. If you’re ever in Mexico during November 1st or 2nd (or in any other city where it’s celebrated), be sure to check out some of the festivities! You’re sure to have a fun and memorable experience.