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Facts About The Day Of The Dead (Dia de Los Muertos)

How do sugar skulls, monarch butterflies, and marigolds are all alike? Like how witches, pumpkins, and black cats, are iconic Halloween icons. Explore Facts About The Day Of The Dead below!

These objects are also tied to a different celebration: Dia of the Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead.

Facts About The Day Of The Dead

1. It’s not like Halloween.

When Halloween is celebrated on October 31, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated the day after the holiday, on November 2. A lot of communities that celebrate Dia de Los Muertos also celebrate Halloween.

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2. It began in Mexico as well as Central America.

Dia of the Muertosoriginated in the earliest times of Mesoamerica (Mexico along with Northern Central America), where indigenous groups, like Aztecs, Maya, and Toltecs, were able to set specific dates when they recalled the loved ones that died. Certain months were devoted to the memory of the deceased depending on the age of the deceased, whether an adult or a child.

Since the arrival of the Spanish ceremony of honoring the dead has been woven into two Spanish holiday celebrations: All Saints Day (November 1) and All Soul’s Day (November 2). Dia of Los Muertos is usually observed in November. 1, as it is an occasion to remember children who have died, and on November 2 to celebrate adults.

Presently, Dia de Los Muertos has celebrated mainly in Mexico and some Central and South American regions. Recently, it’s become more popular with Latino communities across the world, including within the United States.

3. It’s an occasion to celebrate life, not death.

Ancient Mesoamericans believed that death was a part of the process of living. In contrast to death-ending lives, they believed that a new life came out of death. This is usually connected with the cycle of agriculture that sees crops emerge in the same soil that the last crop was in the grave.

Dia of Los Muertos is a chance to honor and commemorate the lives of our loved, loved ones. Much like any other holiday, Dia de Los Muertos is full of the sounds of music and dance. Popular dances include La Danza de losViejitos–the dance of the older men in which young men and boys dress as old-fashioned men, dance around crouching over, and then jump into a trance-like dance. The other popular dance is La Danza of the Tecuanes-one of the jaguar dance that shows farm workers searching for jaguars.

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4. Offenders are a key component. 

Ofrenda is usually the most well-known image associated with Dia de Los Muertos. The temporary altar serves as an opportunity for families to pay tribute to their loved ones and offer the things they need during their journey. They lay down photos of their loved ones, items belonging to them, and objects that are an ode to their lives.

Each forend includes four elements: water, earth, wind, and fire. Water is stored in a pitcher so that the spirits can drink it up. Papel Picado, or traditional banners made of paper, symbolize the wind. Earth is represented through food items, particularly bread. Candles are usually placed in the shape of a cross to signify the cardinal directions so that the spirits will locate their route.

5. The skulls, flowers, and butterflies are often employed as symbols.

The cempasuchil is a kind of marigold flower native to Mexico and is usually set around Ofrendas and in graves. They have a strong smell and vibrant colors; the petals are used to create an avenue that takes spirits through the graveyard to homes.

Monarch butterflies are a major part of Dia de Los Muertos because they are believed to be spirits of those who have passed away. This belief is based on it being the case that monarchs first arrive in Mexico to enjoy winter in the autumn on November 1. This falls the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos.

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Calaveritas of azucar (also known as sugar skulls, in addition to toys, are placed on the altars of children who have died. The skull isn’t used as a symbol of death but to serve as a fun reminder of the cycles of life. This is why they are decorated brightly.

Shreya is a young mind who is always in search of creativity, be it in work or living a life. She's a keen observer who loves to pen down her thoughts on anything and everything. With a factful mind, she's here sharing some with you!


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