Every year, the holiday is commemorated from October 31 to November 2. The celebration, mostly observed in Mexico on November 1 and 2, is similar to a family reunion, except that the honored guests are deceased ancestors.
The Day of the Dead is a happy holiday that encourages remembrance of the dead and celebration of their memory. Family members are honored by sharing a meal on the Day of the Dead, exactly as they would have done in life. A time of remembrance for the deceased.
Children learn that there is a cycle to life and that they shouldn’t dread death when they dance with caricatures of death, eat skull-shaped sugar molds, and recognize that life is short. Once they have learned this, they can enjoy and cherish each moment.
Day of Dead
Halloween is on October 31, while All Souls Day, often known as the Day of the Dead, is on November 2. According to legend, the skies open on the Day of the Dead, and the dead momentarily return to earth.
Not just one day, either. In actuality, it’s a two-day festival that is customarily held on November 1 and 2. Families invite the spirits of their departed relatives back for a brief reunion, and there is food, wine, and even toys at altars to tempt them to return.
The most significant fiesta in Mexico is an annual gathering of people at graves to honor their deceased loved ones. The skies open, and the spirits of the dead return to the ground, so the legend goes.
On the Day of the Dead, a celebrated Mexican event, two fictitious skeletons are positioned playing musical instruments.
History of the Day
The origins of the Day of the Dead, which is still commemorated in modern-day Mexico and among people of Mexican descent in the United States and worldwide, may be traced back nearly 3,000 years to pre-Columbian Mesoamerican rites honoring the deceased.
The Nahua people, including the Aztecs, had a cyclical conception of the cosmos and considered death an essential and constant aspect of existence. After passing away, one was said to go to Chicunamictlán, the Realm of the Dead.
The deceased’s soul could not arrive in Mictlán, the last resting place, until it had passed through nine difficult levels and traveled for many years.
Family members gave food, drink, and tools during Nahua rites commemorating the dead, often conducted in August, to help the departed on their arduous trip.
Celebration of the Day
People gather on the streets in metropolitan areas to celebrate holidays and overindulge in food and drink consumption. Others don calacas, wooden skull masks. Many households create altars, known as ofrendas, using family photographs, candles, flowers, and food.
Black humor is a common feature of the celebrations. Food and toys, including loaves of bread and sweets, are fashioned into morbid emblems like skulls and skeletons. For spirits to return to their loved ones, people first construct an altar in their houses illuminated by candles.
The altar provides some of their favorite meals if the departed are hungry. After that, a large celebration is held in the cemetery. In certain cases, parents will introduce their child to a grandparent who passed away before the child was born.
How are the altars, or ofrendas, constructed?
The altars are a crucial aspect of the celebration since they guide the departed’s souls toward their last resting place and include items meant to honor and pleasure them. Often, the altars have pictures of the guests.
The four elements are represented on the altars. Visitors are given access to food and other particular goods for the deceased, as well as water to satisfy their thirst, fire in the form of candles, soil in the form of colored paper cut into designs, and air.
Q: Who observes the Day of the Dead?
Although it is largely a Mexican custom, the dead are honored in other Catholic nations worldwide. In the Philippines, family members visit the graves of the deceased, burning candles and bringing flowers. Dia de Finados is celebrated in Brazil.
Q: What do people do on the day of the dead?
Favorite foods and snacks from the deceased’s loved ones are put on the altar. The altar should have beverages to satiate the thirst of the deceased after their exhausting trip home. Alcoholic drinks are typically provided in many communities. Salt is one of the ingredients frequently placed at the altar and is regarded as the “spice of life.”
Q: What do skulls represent in Day of the Dead?
These vividly colored skulls stand in for the departed spirits in the life cycle, in contrast to the grotesque skulls and skeletons associated with Halloween. It’s to honor their lives, Caballero explained. We tend to conceive the deceased as being with us forever rather than having passed away.
Q: What are 4 facts about the Day of the Dead?
- Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture may be where the Day of the Dead first emerged.
- ofrendas, or “offerings,” play a prominent role in the festival.
- The offender’s centerpiece is food.
- Marigolds are said to be the doorway to the mortal realm.
The family frequently uses the days of the dead to go to the graveyard to clean up any debris, pluck weeds, and adorn loved ones’ graves. The family often pays a visit, eats, sings, and shares favorite tales about the departed while lighting candles, placing flowers on the grave, and placing the deceased’s favorite foods.
The aromas of marigolds and burning copal, a resin from the copal tree, are said to be the most favored by the deceased and to beckon them back to their homes. A variety of vibrant customs marks the celebration of the day. Even so, they all convey the same message: honoring the deceased is a genuine act of life celebration.