If you’ve ever seen Disney’s Coco, you may have a picture painted in your mind of beautiful vibrant lights, the streets of Mexico, graveyards, and the dead coming back to life. While Disney encapsulated the ambiance and feeling of what it is to celebrate Día de Muertos and be reunited with loved ones, a celebration like this is happening in our backyards.
Today, the tradition of Día de Muertos is observed in many communities. This post shares some facts that we, at TLR search, learned about Día de Muertos and explores its significance as a celebration of cultural diversity. If you have anything to share on the celebration, we would love to hear about it!
What is Día de Muertos?
Historically, Latinos have had a strong connection with their ancestors through rituals and traditions. In pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations like the Aztecs and Mayans, death was considered an important part of life. After a person died, they would be buried with goods to help them in the afterlife. The souls of those who had passed on came back to visit their relatives during special dates in October and November. These celebrations honored families’ ancestors by placing flowers on their gravesites and making statues called “calaveras” out of sugar. This celebration continues today as what we know of as “Day of the Dead”.
Today, Día de Muertos takes place on November 1st through November 2nd. On the first day it is said that the souls of the dead return home to reunite with their families, and on November 2nd, they go back to the spiritual world. Día de Muertos is an important time in Mexican culture where people reflect on their ancestors who have passed away and celebrate their lives with flowers, altars, and food. The celebrations usually consist of spending time with loved ones and having a special meal to honor their ancestors.
Celebrating Life and Death Together
The importance of this celebration is that it brings together the living and dead. The celebration is a way to acknowledge the past while looking to the future. Death is not feared but embraced as a part of life and is even celebrated as part of family relations. The celebration of Día de Muertos allows families to come together with the dead as well as with each other, bringing remembrance and bringing back the tradition that has been lost in the generations before us.
Food: A Key Part of the Celebration
The celebrations are mainly celebrated at home, and the most important part of the celebration is the food. Traditionally, the food eaten for Día de Muertos is called “calaveras”, which are sugar skulls, made with a Mexican spice calavera and sugar syrup. Some other favorite foods are tres leches, other sweet foods, tamales, and ofrendas, which are small, decorated shrines used to represent the souls of the dead.
Cultural Lessons from Día de Muertos
Like many of your own celebrations and traditions, Día de Muertos shares many cultural lessons and similarities to our own.
Community And Family Traditions: As with many cultural celebrations, Día de Muertos is an event that brings people together as a community. The November festivities are a great way to celebrate with family members and loved ones who may not share your cultural identity.
The Importance of Rituals: Día de Muertos celebrations include many rituals that have been practiced for centuries. These include the creation of ofrendas (tribute offerings), the building of altars, and the sharing of special foods.
Celebration Of the Past: Celebrating Día de Muertos is a great way to celebrate the past by engaging in age-old customs. It is a celebration of cultural identity and a way to bridge the gap between past and present.
Día de Muertos is an important celebration that brings families together and allows them to engage with traditions from the past. It’s a great way to celebrate cultural identity and learn about a culture different from our own.