Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is celebrated by people in Mexico and by those of Mexican ancestry throughout the world on 31 October to 2 November, when they will have a gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember their departed ones, so they could help support those departed ones’ spiritual journey.
On this multi-days festivity, the people of Mexican descendant will visit the graves of their dead ones and build private altars or ofrendas, filled with candles, Marigold flowers (sometimes called Flor de Muerto or Flower of Dead), favorite foods and beverages, photos or memorabilia of the departed ones. This is intended for the souls to come visiting, so they can hear the prayers and funny comments delivered by families and friends to them.
Skull is the common symbol of Dia de Muertos. It is represented in calaveras or colorful and decorative sugar skulls. People will don the skull masks or calacas. And decorations of La Calavera Catrina or The Elegant Skull will fill the streets.
On these days the people of Mexican descendant will also clean their houses and prepare favorite dishes of the departed ones, including the delicious tamales, pan de muerto or the sweet egg breads, and drinks of masa or atole. Children in costumes will knock on doors or ask passerby for calaverita, a small gift of candies or money. This is similar with Halloween’s trick-or-treating!
If you do not celebrate Dia de Muertos, but know someone who celebrates it, you could still share the spirit by accompanying them to the graves of their departed ones and join the celebration. You could glimpse the life of those departed ones through prayers or anecdotes delivered by their families or friends. Afterwards, you could taste tamales, have some pan de muerto, or even have a sip of atole. Remember also to give calaverita to those children wearing calacas. And who knows, maybe they will give you Day of the Dead items or even dolls from their departed ones. Possessing those items is considered bringing good luck!
What about you? Tell us your favorite Dia de Muertos activity, or share your most memorable Dia de Muertos celebration!