Issue: Fall 2017

Dia de los Muertos

Aracely Hernandez

The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a celebration of loved ones who have passed and easing the transition to the afterlife. The tradition takes place from October 31-November 2 to coincide with the Christian observances of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Today, November 1 is the Day of the Innocents and honors children who have passed and November 2 is Day of the Dead, honoring adults who have passed.

Altars and graves are cleaned and decorated to place offerings such as beverages and sugar skulls. During the three-day celebration, people honor the Lady of the Dead by painting their faces or wearing masks to resemble La Calavera Catrina, an etching by famous Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada. Decorations for the festivities often include Aztec marigolds and papel picado.

The celebration takes place during Halloween and is celebrated by the Mexican American community as well with festivities in the city to experience the beauty and spirituality of Day of the Dead. This holiday is a spiritual one full of festivities to honor the dead and does not follow the fanaticism behind Halloween and horror.