The Day of the Dead is a holiday comparable to Halloween in the United States with a few distinct differences. While children in the US are knocking from one door to the other in search of candy, Mexican children are joining in the festivities that center on deceased loved ones. Depending on the location and individual, the Day of the Dead is celebrated October 31st, November 1st, or November 2nd. Additional details and facts are found in this article.
1) The origin of the Day of the Dead is believed to have roots planted thousands of years ago. It is believe to have ties to an Aztec festival devoted to a goddess by the name of Mictecacihuatl, which in English translated to “The Lady of the Dead.”
2) To date, similar observances have been found throughout the rest of the world in locations, such as Brazil, Spain, Africa, and the Philippines. In another article titled “International Day of the Dead Observances,” you will encounter various Day of the Dead traditions linked to certain countries.
3) The Day of the Dead celebrations has connections to an array of indigenous peoples, including the Mixtec, Mayans, Totonac, Olmecs, and Zapotecs, where ceremonies focused on celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been recorded into their history. This means that the origins of the holiday may date back as far back as 2,500 to 3,000 years.
4) Pre-Hispanic history shows that it was not uncommon to see people keep skulls in their possession as trophies, which were put on display during times of rituals to serve as a symbol for death and rebirth.
5) In the majority of places in Mexico, November 1st (Dia de los Inocentes , Day of the Innocents or Dia de los Angelitos , Day of the Little Angels) is reserved for the honor of dead children and infants, while deceased adults are honored on November 2nd (Dia de los Muertos or Dia de los Difuntos , Day of the Dead)
6) A widespread belief is that the Day of the Dead creates a moment where it is easier for the souls of the dead to pay visits to the living. In an attempt to encourage a visit from the soul of a deceased loved one, family members will build private altars and place their favorite foods and drinks inside. They will also use photos of the dead as a way to communicate.
7) When paying respects to the death of a child, toys are bought, while tequila is a common gift for deceased adults. Gravesites typically showcase the leftovers of candies that the dead enjoyed while alive. Outside of the home, some leave pillows and blankets out for the deceased.
8) The Day of the Dead also brings a great deal of people into the tattoo parlor, as this is another way that people choose to celebrate the holiday.
9) A popular figure of the Day of the Dead celebrations that take place in Mexico is a catrina , a skeletal female vision that usually wears elaborate hats upon her head and is often seen carrying a bouquet of flowers.