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Dia De Los Muertos

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Janay Kearse

Frances Krieg

English 122

September 5, 2016

Dia de los Muertos

I have always been fascinated with The Day of the dead festivities. Sugar skulls, congregating in cemeteries, and building alters are all a part of this festival. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in central and southern Mexico. Most comparable to the American holiday Halloween, it’s celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. However where Americans celebrate Halloween as a gloomy frightful occasion, Dia de los Muertos is a time of remembrance for those who have passed away. Where I found this holiday strange and fascinating, it’s quite normal to the indigenous people of those regions.  

The Dia de los Muertos celebration comes from a mixture of different religions and customs. In pre-Hispanic times the people of Mexico were always deeply tied to the dead. Once colonization came about they were introduced to new customs. Once introduced to the Holiday All Soul’s and All Saint’s day the Mexican people tied this to there already deep ties with the dead and Dia De Los Muertos was created. On Oct 31 the people of Mexico believe the spirits of dead children are released from heaven so they can spend time with the families they left behind. Beautiful alters are made and stocked with lots of fruit, food, and water for the weary souls. On Nov 1 toys and candy is left for the angelitos (little angels) and on Nov 2nd shots and cigarettes are left for the adult spirits. On the afternoon of Nov 2nd the festivities are taken to the cemeteries. The families’ clean graves and tombs, listen to music, play cards and think about their loved ones. Day of the dead is very expensive for the self-sufficient people of those Mexican regions. The people there often spend over two month’s salary to honor the dead.

The Day of the Dead celebration is looked at as more of a cultural holiday than a religious one. This celebration of remembrance keeps the people in those regions close. I believe this long standing tradition continues year after year it as a healing method. It gives them something to look forward to and believe in.  We as people often look at death as sad and dreary. They turn the deaths of close friends and family into a day of celebration and fun. These timeless traditions are what keep their villages close knit. Although poor they still find a way year after year to celebrate the lives of their love ones.

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