Dia de los Muertos!
As we in the U.S. celebrate Halloween, in Mexico, there is a similar holiday known as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This holiday focuses on gatherings of friends and family to honor those who have passed away. Traditionally, families will build altars in their homes with photographs to honor the deceased. The altars are decorated with skulls and colorful artwork. Families will also place items that were dear to that person in the altar. For example, if the deceased family member used to love playing the guitar, a guitar would be placed on the altar. If the deceased family member loved to eat oranges, oranges would be placed on the altar.
These gifts or “Offrendas” are offered to the souls of the deceased to encourage visits from their spirit. Family members hope that the spirit of their family member will hear their prayers, bless, and guide them.
This holiday is not only celebrated in Mexico, it is celebrated in Brazil, Spain and many other Latin American countries. In all of these countries, the Holiday has a religious affiliation. In Brazil and Mexico, traditions include decorating the cemeteries and visiting churches. In Spain, the people celebrate with colorful parades.
Although this is a very important holiday in the Latin American World, it is one that I have never been able to enjoy in Mexico. I can only imagine what it’s like to celebrate this holiday in Mexico.