What is “Day Of The Dead”?


Dia de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is a tradition widely observed in Mexico, where it largely developed, but it is also observed in other places, especially by people of Mexican heritage. Celebrated November 1 and 2, this two-day event  Although related to the simultaneous Christian remembrances for Hallowtide, it has a much less solemn tone and is portrayed as a holiday of joyful celebration rather than mourning. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and remember friends and family members who have died in their own unique way. These celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Traditions with the holiday include honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, photos, and marigold flowers todecorate home altars called ofrendas with the favorite foods, beverages, and things of the departed. Families also visit and decorate graves with these items as gifts for the deceased. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased. Some people believe the spirits of the dead eat the “spiritual essence” of the ofrendas‘ food, so though the celebrators eat the food after the festivities, they believe it lacks nutritional value. Pillows and blankets are left out so the deceased can rest after their long journey. In some parts of Mexico, people spend all night beside the graves of their relatives. In many places, people have picnics at the grave site, as well.