The "Day of the Dead” or “Dia de los Muertos” celebrated in Mexico has a few little differences from the American Halloween. In Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a national bank holiday, lasting three days, Oct 31- Nov. 2. It’s a spiritual celebration of the dead, rather than an excuse to dress up, scare people and trick or treat for candy. In mainland Mexcio, fields of golden-amber flowers are in full bloom and bundles are sold in the markets for decorations. There are parades and parties but kids mostly dress in black, like ghosts or skeletons rather than action figures or princesses. Families get together to pray for lost loved ones and there are altars set up everywhere to respect the dead. Wandering through the streets, these mini-shrines are beautifully decorated in doorways and windows, covered with flowers, old photos and keepsakes the particular loved ones cherished. For example, if they liked tequila, chocolate and cigars, that’s what would be placed on the altar.
I never pass on an excuse to dress up and to take my son trick or treating. This year I decided to dress up as Catrina, you know, the skelton lady symbolic to Dia de los Muertos. But who is she really? According to Wikipedia, the day of the dead celebrations in Mexico trace back to Pre-Columbian rituals where skulls were decorated and kept as trophies. The Aztecs made it more than a bank holiday and celebrated the dead for a month. Festivities were dedicated to the “Goddess”, so Catrina is the modern day "Goddess of the dead".
Let's celebrate both this year, take time to remember a past loved one and celebrate their life. Happy Dia de Los Muertos!
Xo Jennifer Stone