Day of the Dead
Imagine yourself in a cemetery, commemorating your great-grandpa. Dia De Los
Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Mexico on November 2nd. The Day of
the Dead is one of Mexico’s traditional holidays reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors,
To begin, the historical roots of this celebration date back to the pre-Hispanic
cultures of Meso-America of the indigenous people, especially the Nahua (Aztecs,
Mayans, Toltecas, Tlaxcaltec, Chichimec, Tecpanec) and others native to Mexico more
than 3,000 years ago. Life was seen as a dream. It was believed that only in dying, a
human being was truly awake. Death was not a mysterious and fearful presence but a
realistic recognizable character as much a part of life as life itself. When Christianity was
introduced in the 16th century, religion and its symbols became part of the altars we now
find in Mexico today. November 1st, All Saints Day, is when the spirits of the children,
called “los angelitos” (little angels), are expected to return. Traditionally, it is a time when
family members share memorable stories that would commemorate their lives together.
Secondly, there are many items that people do to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
On November 2, family members clean and perhaps paint the headstones, arrange flowers,
and lighting candles. Mexican families construct special home altars dedicated to the
spirits of their deceased loved ones. The altars range from simple to the very elaborate and
are usually filled with objects that provided pleasure to the departed person in life,
including favorite food and drink. Altars dedicated to the spirits of deceased children often
include toys, candy and other sweets. I think that building alters for the dead is a good
concept. They teach the younger generations about the past, as well as commemorate the
dead. No matter what kind of a person was, everyone leaves behind a legend.