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Dia de Los Muertos

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by

Isabella Gonzalez

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of Dia de Los Muertos

a) What is the date of the celebration?
Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The two dates are each dedicated to something different, the first is a day to remember the 'Angelitos' which are the child souls that have departed. And the second date is only for Adults that have passed.
b) Traditional Activities
c) Traditional Foods
Besides the deceased personal preferences for cuisine, common foods eaten are:
d) Drinks
There are no traditional drinks, but, the loved ones favorite drinks are the beverages left as Ofrendas in/on their homes and graves.
e) Location
Besides the families homes, which are decorated for the celebration, most go to church to pray and the cemetery to visit the deceased.
1) What is Dia de Los Muertos?
Let's start with what it means... Dia De Los Muertos translates to Day of The Dead in Spanish. This is very important to know, as this celebration really lives up to it's name. A ceremony dedicated to remembering our loved ones may seem worthy of describing as; mournful and grim. But Dia de Los Muertos is just the opposite. These two days of festive and happy celebration are a time to memorialize the departed by preparing their favorite: food, drinks and songs. As well as the traditional customs of these annual dates.
Traditional celebration of Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico.
'Angelitos' means 'Small Angels' in Spanish.
Pan De Muerto- Sweet hand made roll, looks like a bun. Traditionally baked with a teardrop on top to represent the Aztec Goddess Chimalma.
Seasonal Fruits-

Sugar Skulls- Candy skulls that represent the deceased. Also bring delight to the returning Angelitos
One of the biggest celebrations of Dia de Los Muertos is in Mexico City.
f) Traditional songs
g) Traditional Dances
For modern family celebrations, there are no dances. Although, in bigger festivals there are traditional dances.
h) Origination
It began 3,000 years ago with the Ancient Aztecs. Their celebration consisted of two months to harvest to honor The Gods. But, As the centuries progressed, the Mexican festival was shortened to two days. The Aztecs believed that life does not end in death. Because the Aztecs prayed to many Gods, this celebration was overseen by the Goddess 'Mictecacihuatl'
When the Aztecs were conquered by Spain in 1521 the tradition became more spiritual than religious through the centuries.
Aztec Goddess Mictecacihuatl, Queen of the After life
Aztec Day of the Dead Art
An old belief
When the 'Aztecas' first began to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, they believed that 'Cempazuchitl' (Nahutl for Yellow Marigold) Is a flower that will draw back spirits by using it's strong aroma. It is used in traditional celebrations as decoration, and is known as a symbol of death.
In literary terms, twenty petals.
i) Where did it begin?
The original ceremony of Dia de Los Muertos began with the Ancient Aztecs around 3,000 years ago in
Mexico
. However, a very similar celebration was recognized from the Celts called Samhain around the 19th century and on.
Pan De Muerto
Sugar Skulls
Many other places around the world perform like ceremonies to Dia de Los Muertos; Samhain in Scotland, All Saints day and All Souls day in Europe, Hangawi in Korea... ect.
Hall ween!
j) My favorite part?
Samhain celebration
"Netzahualcóyotl, lo pregunto.
¿Acaso de veras se vive con raíz en la tierra?
No para siempre en la tierra.
Aunque sea jade se quiebra,
aunque sea de oro se rompe,
aunque sea plumaje de quetzal se desgarra.
No para siempre en la tierra:
Sólo un poco aquí.

Netzahulacóyotl, ask this.
Do we really live with roots on earth?
Only for an instant do we endure.
Even jade will shatter,
even gold will crush,
even quetzal plumes will tear.
One does not live forever on this earth:
only for an instant do we endure."

—Netzahualcóyotl, Aztec warrior, architect, poet and ruler of Texcoco (1402-1472)
The passed away's favorite drinks, food, photos and memorabilia decorate graves, alters, and homes.

Fact!
So, the reason that food is left out for the spirits, is because many believe that the souls will be drawn to their alters, graves, or homes; because of their favorite foods left out. Also, because the spirits have no physical body, instead of eating the food, they absorb it; nourishing their souls.

Once the holiday has finished, families that have left out the foods or drinks for the deceased, eat them. The only problem is, the foods are now tasteless, this is because the spirits have taken the nutritional value out of the food, also taking the essence.
There are no traditional songs, only the families and deceased favorites.
What's yours? :)
I also admire that the festival honors a life after death. That our loved ones and all of their enjoyments in life will be cherished on this day, and never be forgotten.
Out of the whole celebration, I love the fact that each family will celebrate differently, no two parties will be the same; each customized with it's own food, drinks, music and maybe even dances. This makes each celebration unique.

Like I said before, this celebration may seem solemn and mournful, but in reality it is very upbeat and happy! Dia de Los Muertos is also a very social celebration; a time for families to reconnect. These days are a celebration of life for those who have passed in their prime, but most of all, it's a day to to remember the favorite things of the ones we love. Often, families will visit a town parade, then head to the cemetery to prey. These are called 'Ofrendas' in Spanish meaning offerings in English.
Where in the world?
Dia de Los Muertos
Mexico City
Full transcript