Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
THE TRADITION OF DAYS OF THE DEAD
Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is an annual Mexican and Central American celebration to remember loves ones who have passed away. It is generally celebrated in the last week of October through the first days of November, which coincides with an observance of Catholic feast of All Saints’ and All Souls’s Day on November 1st and 2nd. The custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores. It is a time of family reunion, not only for the living but also for the dead, who for a few brief hours are believed to return to be with their living relatives. Altars with offerings of food, candy, toys, candles, flowers, and incense are set up in the home for the returning spirits. Graves in the cemetery are cleaned and decorated with flowers in preparation for an all-night vigil. By sharing in these family and communal rituals, grief is appeased, relationships are reinforced, and life is celebrated. The day of the dead is truly a celebration of life, where we can reflect the time we had with our loved ones and reflect on our own lives.