Brief Summary Is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated from October 31st at midnight through November 2nd It is a day to honor and remember their loved ones who have past away (the children on the first day and adults on the second day) Families throughout the community visit the cemetery and celebrate this day together
Origins This holiday began over 3,000 years ago as an Aztec tradition of celebrating the dead under the goddess Mictecacihuati in the summer (approximately August) When the Catholic Spaniards came, they moved this holiday to All Saints and All Souls days to Christianize it and promote converts This holiday is an example of the blending of the two cultures still being practiced today. While it maintains many of its traditional symbols and meanings, it continues to be celebrated on the Christian date.
Food When the families visit the gravesites of their loved ones, they bring along a picnic of the deceaseds favorite foods to eat Pan de Muertos at the cemetery together. They also bake a special sweet bread called “pan de muertos” specifically for this holiday They often have sugar skulls with their loved one’s names engraved or written on the top (which replaces the human skulls that used to be displayed in the ancient celebration) Calavera (aka “Sugar Skull”)
Symbols & Traditions Wooden skeleton masks and A celebration alter is decorated by costumes called “calacas” are the family with flowers and gifts worn and people dance and celebrate. around the gravesite (sometimes families set up alters at home, too). Yellow and orange marigolds are often used in the decorations because yellow was the Aztec color for fall, which is when nature starts to die.
Día de los Muertos Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRtvoDn1whIThe link above leads to a brief YouTube video taken at a Day of the Deadcelebration. This video illustrates the excitement and grandness of theholiday. It contains a skeleton puppet dance with lively music andcommunity members all standing together watching and taking part.
View of Death I found the following quote from azcentral.com to be especially interesting: “Unlike Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of the life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.” It reminded me that even the way people perceive life is dependent on their culture. It is good to be reminded of this when studying any foreign or past civilization to prevent our own biases from taking over our perception of different cultures.
Works Cited “History of Day of the Dead.” Dia de los Muertos San Fransisco. The Marigold Project, n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. “Mexico’s Day of the Dead Celebrations.” About.com. The New York Times Company, n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. Miller, Carlos. “Day of the Dead History.” azcentral.com. azcentral.com, 2009. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. All photographs and illustrations were taken from Wikipedia