Dia de los Muertos


Dia de los MuertosOf course, we all know about the big holiday celebrated at the end of October. What’s not to love about Halloween? You get to dress up and get tons of free candy. Sounds good to me! But there’s another holiday also celebrated at the end of October that not everyone may be familiar with. It’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I first heard of it some years back and wanted to learn more about its history and origins. 

Dia de los Muertos originated in Mexico as a way for family and friends to remember their loved ones who have died. It is focused on celebrating their lives rather than mourning their deaths. People gather at cemeteries to celebrate their loved ones, building altars decorated with photos and bringing some of their favorite foods. The altars are called ofrendas and they are decorated with orange marigolds, toys for deceased children, favorite candies, and more. 
Some of the traditional foods offered at the celebrations include pan de Muerto, sweet bread, tamales, and Calaveras (sugar skulls) that are very colorfully designed and represent the individuality of each departed loved one. Some people believe that spirits eat the essence of the foods offered. 
Traditionally, Dia de los Muertos has been a family-oriented holiday, not a commercial celebration. Yet with increased visibility in popular culture, such as with the Disney film Coco, people are learning more about the significance of the celebration as well as some of the traditions associated with it. 

We can all take some aspects from Dia de los Muertos and incorporate them into our own celebrations. These days, the decor is readily available to add to festive home displays and recipes for traditional foods can be found online. The idea of celebrating the lives of our departed loved ones is steeped in joy rather than sadness and it is a great way to start new traditions in our own families.