Is it time for Halloween or is it the Day of the Dead?!
The Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday that many consider to be the Mexican halloween, however the Day of the Dead has much more meaning than you think.
Here are the top 10 facts a you need to know about the Day of the Dead:
1.The Day of the Dead is over 2,500 years old. This holiday originating from indigenous civilizations from 2,500 to 3,000 years ago. The Day of the Dead takes place over two days. It is officially on the 2nd of November, but the celebration starts on November 1st.
2. It is a day of remembrance. On the Day of the Dead families build alters to their loved ones to remember them. These alters include the four elements of nature; water, fire, wind, & earth. Alters are carefully constructed to incorporate both emblems of death & rebirth.
3. It is a day of family. The day before the Day of the Dead families come together for vigils at the alters and tombs of their loved ones the night before. They sing music, eat, and drink in celebration of the life of their loved one. The food and music that they choose is commonly music that their dead liked.
4. Skulls represent more than death. In ancient times skulls, calaveras, were considered sacred tokens of death and rebirth. They were used in ceremonies that represented that through death comes new life.
5. It is a blended holiday. When the Americas were colonized by the Spanish the Catholic church mixed in with the traditions of the past to create what we have today. As a result the Day of the Dead coincides with the Catholic celebrations of the Día de los Santos or All Saints’ Day, November 1st, and the Día de los Fieles Difuntos or All Souls’ Day, November 2nd.
6. The flowers bring the rising sun. When creating the alters and beauty in the tombs of the deceased, the Mexican cempasúchitl, or marigold, is used to represent the light of the sun. The rising of the sun on the Day of the Dead is another representation of the life, hope, and rebirth.
7. Offerings to the dead sure are sweet! Offerings are presented to the deceased as a way to remember them. Candy skulls, sweet breads, or the favorite food of the loved one are place on the alters as an offering.
8. It is about life more than death. Mexican indigenous people believed that the soul was eternal and was permitted to travel between the worlds of the living and the dead. Through remembering the lives of your ancestors they would live on forever and would come to visit on the Day of the Dead.
9. Modern day art reflects life. Modern Mexican art has been heavily influenced by the Day of the Dead. Through countless mediums skulls, skeletons, and color jump out as artisans reflect this joyful holiday of life. This holiday inspired the imagination of talented Mexican artist who have created hand made works of art like those found at Los Cinco Soles in Cancun, Merida, and Cozumel Mexico.
10. The Day of the Dead is about us. The Day of the Dead may sound like a sad holiday however it is the embodiment of life and is about each one of us. It enlightens us to want to live life to the fullest. Our ancestors have given us the greatest of all the gifts in the world, LIFE.
Day of the Day is one of coolest holidays in Mexico and you thought it was a scary!