Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos) is a Mexican spiritual celebration dedicated to honouring the departed. At first glance, you might think that it’s a scary or sad holiday, but in fact, it’s the complete opposite! Our own Day of the Dead celebration is traditionally a happy affair, during which we remember loved ones who have passed away, celebrating their lives and remembering the joy they brought us. The festival is a time where we are encouraged to pray for lost loved ones, to help them through their journey in the afterlife.
On the Day of the Dead, people often construct their own private altars, where they honour the dead with a number of different gifts. Sugar skulls and marigolds are among the offerings given up, as well as the favourite food and drinks of the departed.
This year, I’ll use the occasion to make Homemade Churros. As we make this recipe, my son and I will talk about departed friends and family. Whilst the primary concern of Día de Los Muertos is to honour those in the afterlife, the celebrations have become even more vibrant as the decades have gone by.
The sugar skull tradition can actually be traced back to Europe and was only adopted in North America in the 18th century. Around 300 years ago, the skulls would bear the names of those who had passed away. As the years have gone by, the designs have become even more intricate and extravagant. Last year, the first ever Day of the Dead parade took place in Mexico’s capital, a move that officials hoped will draw tourists to the city. It’s believed that this addition to the celebration was inspired by a scene from the James Bond film, Spectre.
As we eat our Día de Los Muertos dinner together, we will talk all about the memories of those who are gone as we pass around old family photos. The occasion may be called the Day of the Dead, but it’s a magnificent celebration of life like no other.
The colourful festival is just around the corner and will take place from Tuesday October 31. Rituals will continue throughout November 1 and 2 to coincide with All Saints’ Day. It is believed that the dead return home and visit loved ones. Feast on their favorite foods and listen to their favorite music. In our home we honour them with offerings. Which may consist of photographs, bread, foods, flowers, and other symbolic offerings, also displayed on our table.
For around 2,500 and 3,000 years. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed in Mexico among its pre-Columbian cultures. The festival that would later become the Day of the Day. Took place in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, around August, and was celebrated for an entire month. By the late 20th century, in many Mexican regions it was being held on November 1 and 2.
Consequently, if you’ve never celebrated the Day of the Dead I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful feeling, honouring the memory of those we have lost. Here is a simple plan for celebrating:
- Create an altar with lots of bright marigold flowers
- Place photographs of your deceased loved ones
- Prepare food and drink that reminds you of them
- Place candles on the altar to be lit during your celebration
- Play their favorite music
- Retell stories of the deceased to those in attendance