Sugar skulls, candles, and spectacular food, accentuate the centuries old tradition of remembering, celebrating, and honoring a family’s deceased. Day of the Dead or “Día de los Muertos” is a holiday celebrated in Mexico, Central & South America, as well as in many Mexican and Central American communities in the United States. This tradition can be traced back to the Pre-Columbian era. Although the time of year and imagery bear resemblance to Halloween, they have different sensibilities. Día de los Muertos is a beautiful celebration of life, both earthly and eternal.
Meaning & Symbolism
The festivities begin on November 1st, “All Saints Day, “Día de los Angelitos”, when children that have passed are honored and remembered. November 2nd, “All Souls Day”, “Día de los Muertos”, is for the remembrance of the adults that passed. Traditions connected with the holiday include building altars honoring the deceased in the home and grave side, and range in size from table top, to a full room in a home. The most common altar elements include pictures of the deceased, sugar skulls, marigolds, papel picado, bread of the dead (Pan de Muerto), favorite dishes and beverages of the departed. A central symbol of the holiday is the skull (calavera), it is commonly represented in masks and foods such as sugar and chocolate skulls that are given both to the living and presented on the “altar” of the deceased.
Popular belief is that the spirits of the dead eat the “spiritual essence” of the ofrendas (food offerings); the family will enjoy the food after the festivities. Some altars may include personal item such as a wash bowl, soap and razors for the traveling spirit’s use to clean-up after the journey.
Traditionally, families spend some time around an altar at home, praying to God and telling anecdotes about the deceased. During the day there are festivals and parades. Families often visit cemeteries where the loved ones are interred, graveside celebrations could go on all day and past midnight. The celebrating families would bring their loved ones’ favorite food and beverages to share. Gravestones are usually decorated with marigolds, sugar skulls, fruits, candles as well as favorite meals of the deceased. Day of the Dead is full of ancient traditions, emotions, vibrant colors and wonderful food, passed on for generations. In essence Día de los Muertos is a respectful and joyous “Celebration of Life”. Join in the Día de los Muertos celebration, pamper your loved ones with any of the authentic and delicious dishes like: Enmoladas, Chorizo and Cheese Tamales, Pozole Rojo, Champurrado and Pan de Muerto.Prayers and memories are shared, as are delicious food and drink. Day of the Dead is full of ancient traditions, emotions, vibrant colors and wonderful food, passed on for generations. In essence Día de los Muertos is a respectful and joyous “Celebration of Life”.