Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Mexico this November

Dia de los Muertos is an important holiday. Translated to mean “Day of the Dead” in English, this is a celebration that focuses on honoring and remembering one’s deceased loved ones. According to an informational website created by Northern Illinois University, many individuals prepare special foods and make small gifts for their departed relatives on Dia de los Muertos. They also build alters that include pictures of the deceased, burning candles, bread and candy to honor those that have departed from the world. In addition, Mexicans who celebrate this occasion may also attend festive get-togethers or visit nearby cemeteries, where they decorate tombstones with flowers and candy skeletons.

Contrary to its name, Dia de los Muertos does not take place on one day, but three. Each year, the holiday begins on October 31 and ends on November 2. According to Catholic tradition, All Saints and All Souls Day, times when the souls of the deceased are very close to Earth, fall during this period. As nearly 85 percent of the Mexican population practices Catholicism, this holiday is celebrated by almost every individual in the country and holds national significance.

It is not unusual for towns and villages to hold large parties or parades in the main square during Dia de Los Muertos. Many individuals attend these celebrations in costume, dressed as ghouls, ghosts, mummies or skeletons, while others pose as corpses and are carried through the streets in fake caskets, reports Holidays.net. Parade-goers who are not actively involved in the procession toss oranges inside the open coffin, while vendors and merchants often give away fruit or small pieces of candy to children.

Although a Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that honors and remembers the dead, it is by no means a depressing festival. In fact, on this day, many Mexicans look at death with a mixture of happiness and joy, and actively mock it through jokes and games. For instance, during Dia de los Muertos, children often play a game in which they put on a fake funeral, complete with a casket and someone filling the role as undertaker. Adults also scoff at death by referring to it in euphemism, calling it “the baldy skeleton.”