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Dia De Los Muertos

Madison M., Contributer

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Many people might know what the holiday celebrated as Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is all about, because of the popular Disney and Pixar film “Coco.” But not many know the history behind this prominent holiday. This article will explain history behind the event, the beliefs, how the holiday is celebrated, and finally, how it’s legacy still lives on to this day.

Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated on October 31 through November 2. This holiday’s most notable trait is the colorful skeletons. Most people probably refer to it as the “Mexican Halloween,” but there is clear difference between Dia De Los Muertos and Halloween. Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos do share common roots, but they have some contrasting elements. Halloween’s association with the afterlife and ancestry have been completely discarded. While on the other hand, Dia De Los Muertos celebrates the afterlife and ancestors. This holiday originates from Aztec traditions of respecting and honoring the dead.  Once the Aztec Empire started to expand, so did the holiday.

On Dia De Los Muertos, families honor and remember departed loved ones. They go to the cemetery where their ancestors are buried. They decorate the graves with their favorite things ranging from food, crosses, and special objects. This is called an ofrenda. After decorating the graves, families spend time in the presence of their departed friends and family, praying for their spiritual journey. People who celebrate this holiday also believe in the afterlife. The two separate days honor different ages. The first day is for children and the second day is for adults. People believe that once someone passes away, they go to the Land of the Dead, and live with Muctlantecuhtli, the king of the afterlife, and his wife Mictecaíhuatl, the queen of the afterlife.

How does the legacy still live on till this day? The Day of the Dead is important to the Mexican culture, as it is the only day of the year families can talk to their loved ones. Many people celebrate the Day of the Dead every year. Each year, festivals are held with traditional food and music. Many are familiar with the icon of Day of the Dead, the colorful skeletons with beautiful flowers. These skeletons are called sugar skulls, they are usually painted with vibrant colors. Many people also paint their faces into a skeleton and wear fancy dresses with neon colors and flower head pieces. Even Disneyland celebrates Dia de los Muertos with a parade and celebration. To keep this tradition alive, movies have been made, such as the very popular movie “Coco,” ranking in an astonishing $26.1 million. The Book of Life is also another movie celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. Although this holiday is hundreds of years old, it still lives on today in many families traditions.

The Day of the Dead is a great holiday and is celebrated by many people. Even though it is a very old holiday, many people still honor it today.  From parades to family gatherings, Dia De Los Muertos is memorialized in different ways. The Day of the Dead is important for many Hispanics, and it most importantly helps remember loved ones who have been lost.

 

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos!

(Happy Day of the Dead!)

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