Even though Dia de los Muertos is not as widely celebrated where me and my other half live as it seems Halloween is more popular, I did get to see some of these festivities in 1999 while visiting Michoacán even though it was not nearly as large as other places such as Mexico City and Mérida. My hope is when we vacation this year or the following in the Cancún to Mérida areas we will see Dia de los Muertos festivities.
Origins are from the Aztec in Mexico to Central America honoring the dead with an influence of Catholicism. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day. November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. Graves are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, whose graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. Note, regions within Mexico can be different on these traditions but overall are very similar.
Family cleans and decorates graves with offerings which may include candles, flowers, food and drink also personal items of the honored person.
This is a time about recognizing death as a natural part of the life cycle, just like birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. During this time the dead are also part of the community, awakened to share celebrations with their loved ones.
Skeletons and skulls (calacas and calaveras in Spanish) are very familiar symbols of Dia de los Muertos. They are found in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. The skeletons and skulls are usually portrayed as enjoying life, as seen in the clothing and entertainment.
I recommend watching Coco as it great movie which includes this discussion and it’s meaning in Mexico.
I want to credit plus thank SJ Gonzales and C.E. Flores for supplying the pictures used in this blog.