Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), is a holiday of remembrance predominantly celebrated in Mexico, but also commemorated by Latino communities in the United States and other regions of the world. Día de los Muertos is an occasion that is observed annually for two to three days at the beginning of November. It is a time for people to pray and commemorate the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Rather than doing so through somber mournfulness however, Día de los Muertos uses colorful and visually distinct traditions to appreciate the love and levity that the deceased once inspired when they were alive.
As a custom that is rooted in the harvest celebration of the Aztec civilization, the rituals associated with Día de los Muertos have been in constant transformation for hundreds of years. People celebrate Día de los Muertos today in a number of ways, such as:
- Building altars to invite spirits of the dead to commune with the living.
- Visiting graves to pray and honor the dead with verbal tributes and gift offerings.
- Preparing food and beverages to be eaten in honor of the deceased, including meals that were once enjoyed by them.
- Decorating altars and graves with flowers, candles, ornaments and gifts that revere the deceased.
- Small gatherings with live music and parades leading from residences to cemeteries.
The central idea surrounding Dia de los Muertos is providing people with the opportunity to convene and reflect on the memory of people who are no longer with us. As such, the events that happen during this holiday aren’t universal to every region or community that observes Dia de los Muertos. For instance, every family may incorporate certain popular symbols of Dia de los Muertos to decorate their altars or graves, but at the same time each family practices their own unique tributes ranging from prayer to festivities.
One of the most recognizable icons of Día de los Muertos are Calaveras and Calacas, which are decorative caricatures of the human skull and skeleton. Calaveras and Calacas, can be prepared as edible ornaments made from sugar, they can be prepared as clay figurines, or they can be used as diagrams and face masks to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Imagery of the Calavera is what makes Día de los Muertos particularly stand out as a holiday because pervasive skull imagery openly conveys the morbid undertones of the holiday.
Whether or not you commemorate Dia de los Muertos, remember to decorate and celebrate responsibly this holiday season. Always use stable and secure equipment to suspend ornaments, never leave lit candles unattended, and use safe wiring for any electrical displays. For more information, visit any of our offices or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654 to find out how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you celebrate in safety. We got you covered!