Day of the Dead | A Staple Of Mexican Culture

Day of the Dead | A Staple Of Mexican Culture

Day of the Dead | A Staple Of Mexican Culture

In some cultures, like the United States, families, and loved ones traditionally mourn the deceased with funeral services and dark clothing. But in different countries, communities celebrate the dead as a way of keeping their memory alive. 

One such example is Mexican culture and the celebration of the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos). This holiday, annually celebrated November 1-2, is a staple of Mexican culture and has been around for centuries. 

What is the Day of the Dead?

Mexican cultures celebrate the Day of the Dead to honor and remember the deceased. It is believed that there is a passageway between the physical world as we know it and the spirit world during the two-day celebration. As a result, deceased friends, family members, etc., can return to the real world and visit their loved ones

Traditionally, people honor their deceased loved ones by making their favorite foods, playing their favorite music, and more. Day of the Dead aims to celebrate deceased loved ones, so their memory is never forgotten. Naturally, the celebration is filled with tons of music, dancing, special food, and parades! 

As previously mentioned, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is said that on the first day of the holiday, the children who have passed come back to the real world to visit their families. Then, on November 2, the adults join the festivities! 

Day of the Dead takes several weeks to prepare for. And families usually create altars, cook specific foods, and decorate burial sites in preparation for their deceased loved ones to return and celebrate. 

How did the Day of the Dead Originate?

When Spaniard explorers initially landed in Mexico, they introduced Catholicism to the Indigenous people. Further, the explorers blended various traditions and beliefs from Catholicism and the Indigenous religion to create new, unique customs. 

Day of the Dead originated as a mixture of the Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictēcacihuātl  and Catholic influences. The Aztec goddess is the “Lady of the Dead” and is believed to watch over the bones of the deceased. 

The Catholic church rejected these Aztec beliefs and transformed the holiday into All Saints Day and All Souls Day (to keep it a two-day celebration). As time passed, the Mexican people changed the holiday, making it a unique celebration that is now honored annually. 

Do Mexican Cultures Still Celebrate the Holiday?

Day of the Dead is an integral part of Mexican culture, and families still celebrate the holiday each year. Today, families honor loved ones with flowers, altars, food, and music. Typically, grave sites are decorated with lit candles and flowers to honor the deceased. 

Unlike other cultures, the Day of the Dead is a joyful way to remember and honor the deceased. There is no crying or grieving. Instead, Mexican families reflect on all the good memories they had with their loved ones and celebrate the fact that they get to visit for a couple of days!