Blog Entries

Día de los Muertos

Monday, November 01, 2010
All Souls' Day procession, Tucson, Arizona, 2008.
Source:  Wiki
I grew up in Southern California, where there is the largest population of Mexican-Americans in the United States.  Los Angeles alone is home to over 1 million people of Mexican ancestry, with another 2 million throughout Los Angeles County, and a total of six million in the five-county Greater Los Angeles Area, so as you might imaginemy Spanish isn't so horrible and I know a thing or two about Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead[Stats from Wiki]
Today (November 1), however, is All Saints' Day, a Roman Catholic holy day commemorating known and unknown saints that leads up to All Souls Day (November 2), when the Catholic Church commemorates and prays for the holy souls in Purgatory, undergoing purification of their sins before entering heaven.  []

Día de los Muertos (November 2) - a holiday traditionally celebrated by many in Mexico, many Mexican Americans living in the US and Canada, and by folks like me who enjoy celebrating different cultures - focuses on family gatherings to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and is in connection with both All Saints' Day and All Souls Day.

Not to be mistaken with Halloween, traditions connected with the Día de los Muertos include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. [Wiki]  Many families visit the graves of the dead to leave gifts and decorate it with flowers.  I even know of some families that have lively and festive picnics at gravesites too. 

Skeletons dancing!
Source: Sandygodaily
And if you're like the Spainards from back in the day that didn't like the colorful skulls and skeletons, this is what explains: "When the Spanish began arriving in the 16th century, they were offended by the Day of the Dead, and saw it as a pagan holiday. Most particular, the Spanish were appalled at the Day of the Dead art, which they saw as gruesome and morbid. Since the Spanish had their own holiday for the dead, 'All Saints Day', they moved the native Mexican Day of the Dead to its current date.  Today, the Mexican Day of the Dead combines the Spanish catholic traditions of All Saints Day with the ancient traditions of the native Mexican tribes." 

Note to the old-school Spaniards:  Don't hate.

A woman prays for the dearly departed.

A far more complex holiday than I have the space to type about, blogger Bronson Pettitt sums up the Day of the Dead celebration with this:  "Día de Muertos, a rich, colorful, spiritual, religious, complex, humorous, heart-filled, sad, bittersweet, evolving and very Mexican tradition, is a unique blend of cultures, with a growing presence wherever the 'muerte es parte de la vida' (death is a part of life) attitude is present."  []

Bueno, Bronson.  Bueno.


Mamacita La Cuponera on: November 1, 2010 at 2:17 PM said...

Thanks Tracey! That was a very informative post! You taught me a thing or two!!!

Gracias Chica!


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