A popular form of Halloween décor in Mexico, as well as in parts of the United States, includes colorful skulls (Calaveras), associated with the Day of the Dead. Translated Dia de Los Muertos, the holiday coincides with Halloween because they both are celebrated around the same time each year. Also, each event honors people who have died. Halloween concentrates on a lighthearted celebration of friendly ghosts, humorous ghouls, and friendly witches. However, Dia de Los Muertos invites family members and friends who died to return one day each year. They come back to commune with their loved ones still alive.
History of Day of the Dead
In the U.S.A., we mourn loved ones when they die with traditions. These include funeral services, memorials, life celebrations, and dark solemn clothing. In America, the pervading emotion expected amidst death is sadness and grief. However, such is not the case in other parts of the world. For example, in Mexico, at least once a year, people mark the occasion. Celebrations include noise and delicious food, loud music, and colorful, fun festivities.
When they arrived in Mexico, the Spaniards introduced them to Catholicism. They encouraged the indigenous people to blend existing traditions and beliefs to create their own customs. Dia de Muertos emerged from a combination of the Aztec festival originally dedicated to a goddess, Mictecacihuatl. Known as the “lady of the dead,” she is said to watch over the bones of the dead and swallow the stars during the day.
The Catholic church resisted the Aztec’s influence and converted the celebration to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, incorporating the event into the Catholic calendar. Mexicans have since transformed it into a holiday they proudly hail every year.
What is the Day of the Dead
A 2-day celebration, Day of the Dead is considered an actual passageway between the real and spirit worlds. Many Mexicans believe that deceased loved ones can come back to visit their loved ones one time each year. To honor their returning relatives, people make their deceased loved one’s favorite meal offer guests the dead relative’s favorite drink. They sing, dance, and rejoice before their loved one has to return to the underworld for another year.
When Is Day of the Dead
People across the world celebrate Day of the Dead on the first and second of November. People sometimes confuse the event with Halloween because of the symbolic skulls used in the former. But the two events are not related. The day after Halloween, on November 1, children who have passed are said to come back to visit and celebrate as small angels (Angelitos). And, the following day, November 2, is reserved for partying with deceased adults (Difuntos). Family members prepare for the event for several weeks. During that time, they build altars, decorate burial sites with marigolds, and cook traditional Day of the Dead food, featuring delicacies such as Pan de Muertos, Mole, Tamales, Pozole, and Sopa Azteca.
From all of us at Foothill Funeral & Cremation, we wish you a happy Halloween, All Saints’ Day and Dia de los Muertos!
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation in Glendora, California
When someone you love dies, we will do our best to make sure your loved ones can mourn your loss in a safe manner. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with the United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart (which currently allows a maximum of 65 people) provides great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.