Día de Los Muertos: A Mexican Tradition

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A Blend of the Old and the New

Día de los muertos is usually celebrated on November 2, which is also the Roman Catholic feast of All Souls’ Day. In some communities, the dead are remembered over several days, including November 1, All Saints’ Day.

Mexican Halloween?

coverotherNot exactly! Día de los muertos, is often mistaken for Mexican Halloween because it takes place around the same date. Actually, the celebration is a unique blend of ancient native beliefs and Spanish Catholic traditions.

An Important Link Between the Living and the Dead

The day of the dead reinforces the ancient belief that death is a part of life. It is an important tradition through which families pass on their oral histories to help keep these ancestors alive for future generations.

ofrenda

Ofrendas

Many families prepare an elaborate altar, known as an ofrenda (offering), for the holiday. The ofrendas are created to welcome back the souls of departed family members and friends for a day. Families set up the ofrendas in their homes and in cemeteries, and decorate them with flowers, fruits, popular foods, sweets, drinks, and personal mementos of the person being remembered.

Cemetery Celebrations

Bringing food and music, families also visit the graves of their loved ones, often cleaning and decorating the headstones with flowers.

sweet skulls

Sweet Skull Treats

Special candies and pan de muerto (bread of the dead), a sweet bread, are popular treats on Día de los muertos. They are served in the shape of skulls, skeletons, and other symbols of death.

 

These fun facts­—and much more—can be found in World Book Online.
Explore our recent post on the origins of Halloween!

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