Celebrated on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2nd with a huge feast on Nov. 3rd, Día de los Muertos is a holiday traditionally celebrated in central and southern Mexico that is all about honoring your loved ones that have passed on. November 1 is a day for thinking of children, and November 2nd is for celebrating the legacy of the adults. And yes, we all know the cemetery is the hotspot for this time, not to the mention the Westernized costumes we have seen come from it (skull face paint with a Frida crown anyone), this celebration is definitely much more than what meets the eye! So y'all ready for un poco de historia?
Peep these 8 facts about Día de los Muertos!
Las ofrendas are everythingIt's all about the altars when it comes to Día de los Muertos. Just like creating an altar with special items for religious purposes, these ofrendas for Day of the Dead are normally filled with items that were significant to the deceased's life, so you might have toys, hair combs, sugar skulls, bottles of mezcal, or even fragments of their clothing. Each alter must also include cempasuchil or marigolds as they are the official flower of this holiday. Some families even spend months of their income to make these altars beautiful for their ancestors.
La Catrina - The calavera next doorThe most famous icon of Day of the Dead is La Calavera Catrina, a political caricature of an indigenous Mexican woman influenced by European standards pre-revolution. Often seen wearing elaborate clothing and a hat, Catrina is a sign of the modernity in the Mexican revolution, as she was created by the famous Jose Guadualupe Posada, one of the most iconic printmakers and illustrators of his time.
It's not just a Mexicanidad holidayYes, Día de los Muertos does have origins in Mexico, but that doesn't mean it's just a Latin American Holiday. Celebrations happen all around the world such as the United States, the Philippines, Spain, and even Italy!
Fun Fact: Northern Mexico does not participate in the elaborate parties we all associate with this holiday, but holds a more somber celebration instead.
Don't call it Mexican HalloweenNot to be confused with Halloween whatsoever (completely different holiday and completely different meaning), Día de los Muertos is a 3-day celebration that begins on Oct. 31st. At midnight on this date, it is seen to be the time when the spirits begin their transition back into the living world.
CDMX just had its first parade - thanks to James BondMexico City just had its first parade celebrating this holiday in 2016. Shocker, I know! Originally created for a James Bond movie, the parade was such a hit that the government decided to keep it around for the long haul. While some appreciated the parade, others were unhappy because of the mainstream nature of the event.
Colonization transformed into cultura?Historically an Aztec ritual of honoring those that have passed on, Day of the Dead is a combination of the mixing of both Catholicism and Mesoamerican culture. When the Spanish conquistadores came to Mexico with Christianity, Día de los Muertos was born.
The face paint means something
You may be familiar with the tradition of painting faces as skulls, and there is a belief behind the calavera look. According to Amparo de Jesús Rincón Pérez, anthropologist and expert at the National Museum of Popular Culture of Mexico City, this is done as a preventative measure to ward off death. Rincon told the Dallas News in Spanish, "To wear the face paint was a way to say 'Don't look at me. I'm already dead.'"
Actually, it's just an insane amount of symbolism!Literally, from the flowers to the altars, the naked spirit dogs that are there to guide the spirits back to the pan de muerto, Día de los Muertos is a days-long celebration of symbolism.
Another Fun Fact: The bread is round because it is supposed to symbolize the Circle of Life. #imshook
Want more Dia de los Muertos inspo? Catch me on ig @whatsuplauren_ as I am traveling to CDMX next week to celebrate!
All photos courtesy of Pixabay