Day of the Dead

Picture of sugar skulls, often used as Day of the Dead imagery

The Day of the Dead, or in Spanish, El Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that honors the dead. It is about remembering and celebrating the lives of family members who have passed. Many people place ofrendas (offerings) in their homes and cemeteries to welcome the souls of the departed. These brightly decorated shrines (picture the altar at the front of a church!) may include candles, photographs and even the favorite foods of the dead! The Day of the Dead is a hybrid holiday. (A hybrid is when two different things come together to form something new). The catholic holidays of All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day were brought into the area we now know as Mexico with the Spanish conquistadores (conquerors) in the early 1500’s. Before that, the Aztecs living there were celebrating their own days for honoring the dead. Mathematically, we could say that Ancient Aztec Holy Days + All Souls’ Day + All Saints’ Day = The Day of the Dead.

Day of the dead celebration picture of crafted skeletons
Did You Know?

• Halloween and The Day of the Dead take place at the same time of year, but they are not the same! The Day of the Dead takes place over the first two days in November, while Halloween is on October 31st.

• People may eat skulls or skeletons made from candy or sugar to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Would you?

•The blockbuster animated Disney movie Coco takes place in Mexico and is centered around the Day of the Dead