When Halloween will be over, the celebrations for Día de Muertos will be just starting!
What is Dia de Muertos and how does it differ from Halloween?
Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a holiday with Mexican origins celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November. Though it can be easily confused with Halloween, it is quite different. Día de Muertos, also known as Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death or better the lives of the deceased, while on Halloween, death is seen as something to be feared.
How do you celebrate the dead?
The Day of the Dead is a moving, colourful celebration of the circle of life. People remember and honor their lost loved ones by putting up altars and decorating them with candles, sugar calaveras (skulls), marigolds, food, and drinks. These ofrendas (offerings) are gifts for the dead and are usually accompanied by activities the dead enjoyed in life.
Would you have to go to Mexico to see these celebrations?
Though Día de Muertos is a Mexican National Holiday, it is celebrated throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Its importance as a living expression of culture was recognized by UNESCO when it was added to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and made it even more popular not only in Mexico but also around the world.
What’s up with all the skulls?
Calaveras (skulls) appear everywhere during the holiday; on masks, sugar candies, dolls. They are not intended to be scary though as they are portrayed enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations. The origins trace back to the pre-Hispanic era, when they were kept as trophies and used during rituals.
The meaning of Dia de Muertos couldn’t be captured better than in this heart-warming short movie. Watch it before deciding how you will be celebrating this year!
Guest blogger: Kara Banks
Kara Banks is a UCLan undergraduate student and has just completed her internship in the Worldwise Learning Centre.