Dia de Los Muertos

Image Source: Food & Wine Magazine

As the end of October approaches, so begins November and a wide array of cultural traditions and celebrations. Among these is a yearly Mexican tradition, this year on Wednesday, November 2nd, named Dia de Los Muertos.

Dia de Los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday to celebrate the souls of those who have passed. It is said that on this day the border between the spirit world and the living world is dissolved, and souls are able to pass through.

During this day, families create shrines or ofrendas for their loved ones who may come back to the living world to visit them. These ofrendas contain photos of the souls at the time when they were living, candles, their favorite foods and knickknacks, bright marigolds also known as cempasuchil, and other offerings. 

According to History.com, the origins of this holiday and its traditions stem from “rituals honoring the dead in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.” In this time, it was said that a person upon death was to take a journey to the Land of the Dead, which may take several years to complete. Rituals were held to support this journey, where “family members provided food, water and tools to aid the deceased” and inspired the practices of the Day of the Dead.

This holiday is unique in that it celebrates both life and death simultaneously, and it honors the departed as one would the living. People come together to eat and celebrate alongside the dead. In recent years, there have been parades held in the streets where people dress up and paint their faces to look like skeletons. There is also the creation of Calaveras, or sugar skulls, to be added to the ofrendas to symbolize those who have passed.

Among these traditions is a family spirit that is unbroken and represents the value of family in Mexican heritage. El Dia de Los Muertos is a celebration to be upheld with the utmost respect for the souls who have passed on, as they are still and always will be a part of family traditions.