Dia de los Muertos is certainly one of Mexico’s most important religious festivals. It takes place annually in Mexico on 1st and 2nd of November. Far from being a morbid event, the Day of the Dead emphasizes remembrance of past lives and is a celebration of the continuity of life.
Origins of el Dia de los Muertos
There is no exact date to denote the first celebrations of el Dia de los Muertos. However, the tradition stems from the Aztec and Toltec people. They considered mourning the dead as disrespectful. In fact, death was seen by them as just another part of the cycle of life.
There are several regional differences in the way Mexicans celebrate el Dia de los Muertos. In Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula for example, el Dia de los Muertos has a Mayan name – Hanal Pixan meaning “Feast for the souls.”
Festival La Calaca in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful pueblos magicos for foreigners to experience el Dia de los Muertos. La Calaca consists of a four-day festival celebrating ancient traditions.
Why is the Ofrenda significant?
Firstly, the Ofrenda is the offering to honor the dead and welcome them back to life. Second, an ofrenda includes photographs, Marigold flowers, candles, food, candy, and toys/things that the person loved when living.
An ofrenda is typically put together in the family home or by the gravestone. It is certainly one of the most important elements of the celebration.
Who is the iconic Calavera Catrina figure?
La Calavera Catrina is the iconic figure for Dia de los Muertos in the 20th century. In her original form, La Catrina is a satirical portrait by Jose Guadalupe Posada. His rendering depicts a female skeleton wearing a fancy hat.
Day of the Dead Inauguration parade in Mexico City
Another interesting Day of the Dead fact pertains to the origins of the big parade in Mexico City. It may come as a surprise to you that it is only a recent invention. Remember the opening movie sequence to Spectre in 2016?
The sugar skull
Sugar skulls are everywhere in Mexico around the time of celebrating el Dia de los Muertos. Each skull represents a deceased relative when they are placed upon the ofrenda.
What food do Mexicans eat on el Dia de los Muertos?
Sopa Azteca, Chalupas, Tamales, and Red Pozole are popular. Alternatively, families also prepare the favorite foods of the departed souls and place them upon the ofrenda. Pan de Muerto is also another specialty which literally means “bread of the dead.”
And finally, where will you be celebrating el Dia de los Muertos in 2019?
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