Dia de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos in México: what does it mean for most people?
The “Day of the Dead” or Día de los Muertos in México, is arguably the most relevant cultural celebration of the country. It actually takes place on November the 2nd though most people also associate the whole event with October 31 and November the 1st. In this way, El Día de los Muertos is a three-day cultural party meant to remind us of how short our time is on this earth, as well as the best tribute to our dear ones long gone.
How Día de los Muertos is celebrated: the offering as a way to show love to the dead ones
An “offering” or ofrenda is a set of food, portraits and little things that the dead one used to love. The offering may be brought to the cemetery, or displayed on an altar at home. The ofrenda may include bread (pan de muerto, a type of bakery especially made for this season of the year), small calaveritas, a Día de los Muertos skull made of sugar, chocolate or both, the beverages that the person liked while living and even toys for the small deceased.
Every ofrenda, of course, has a deeper meaning: it’s a spiritual connection to the invisible world to keep the hope alive forever. When someone is gone, the surviving family only wishes to bring them back to life. A wish with no possibilities at all, somehow comes true when offering them some food along with some personal things. Even the legend tells that some of the food is found half-eaten the next morning.
El Día de los Muertos: A Mexican Halloween full of fun and color
In México, most people have a very particular point of view about death and eternal life. The pain of such a natural event is turned into laughter and celebration, at least during those three days. Hence, you can see lots of kids and even grownups on the streets dressed up with Mexican costumes full of folkloric elements, like skulls, flowers and ancient cultures symbols.
This is why both the audience and critics loved the Coco movie so much. The Pixar smash hit reflects to perfection everything about Día de los Muertos and how Mexico turns tears into music, love and great memories. It is not a coincidence at all that warmth and tenderness is embodied in an old, wise woman, very similar to many grandmas you can find all over the country, always willing to offer priceless advice to their families.
La Calavera Catrina
La Calavera Catrina plays a very important role in how Día de los Muertos is celebrated in México. This symbol was created by the illustrator José Guadalupe Posada in the early XX century. Since then, it is part of popular culture and represents the Mexican vision about death and how it is seen as a high-class, well-respected figure that actually looks way more maternal than scary.
During the Día de los Muertos celebration, la Catrina is one of the top costumes. Women, men and kids alike choose it to dress up thus decorating the streets, plazas and events full with fancy Catrinas. Thanks to Posada’s artistic insight, death in Mexico is no longer a tragic symbol, but an elegant character that walks around waiting in silence for every one of us to bring us eternal peace.The Día de los Muertos is a one of a kind celebration. If you visit Mexico during those days, make sure to eat as much pan de muerto as you can, drink some atole and enjoy the typical candies. You are still alive, happy and breathing, so take some time to pay tribute to those special ones taking care of you from the spiritual world.