It’s Novemeber… Hello, sweater weather and boot season, but more importantly, it’s time to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Día de los Muertos is more than just sugar skull make-up and costumes. It’s for remembrance and to celebrate life.
Día de los Muertos translates to day of the dead, a Mexican holiday that is also celebrated in Latin America. It consists of building private altars called ofrendas (offerings) which honor the deceased. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves as well as having vigils. Using sugar skulls, candles, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, it is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living during the celebration and marigolds guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent. Marigolds, or flowers in general, also represent the fragility of life. The altar also has mixed imagery of both indigenous and Catholic background. The celebration can be traced back thousands of years to the Aztecs. They would celebrate the deceased while also honoring the goddess Mictecacihuati, the queen of the Underworld.
As opposed to mourning the dead, Day of the Dead is meant to celebrate the lives of the deceased. It sounds morbid, but in my culture, it’s a beautiful day of remembrance because living alongside death means learning to accept it.
The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls) which are represented in art, children’s toys, candies, and so much more.
Between October 31 and November 2nd, the spirits are welcomed and celebrated in a day of reminiscing to pay respects to those who have departed. To get to know a little more about the holiday, watch the animated short below. It will give you all the feels.
(Featured Image via @neomexicanismos)