The day of the dead originated in ancient Mesoamerica. Where indigenous groups, including Aztec, Maya and Toltec, had specific times when they commemorated their loved ones who had passed away.
1. Day of the Dead is NOT Mexican Halloween
Contrary to what is often portrayed in popular culture. The Day of the Dead is not Mexico’s version of Halloween. Even though they fall around the same time of year. The two are different holidays with separate origins and unique traditions.
2. Flowers, butterflies and skulls are typically used as symbols.
Monarch butterflies play a role in Día de los Muertos because they are believed to hold the spirits of the departed. This belief stems from the fact that the first monarchs arrive in Mexico for the winter each fall on November 1st. Which coincides with the day of death.
3. Mexican families place Ofrendas to honor their deceased relatives
The ofrenda is often the most recognized symbol of Día de los Muertos. This temporary altar is a way for families to honor their loved ones and provide them what they need on their journey. They place down pictures of the deceased. They used items that belonged to them and objects that serve as a reminder of their lives.
4. The party is literally in the graveyard
Families will decorate the graves and tombs of their loved ones, and then hold celebrations including food and music right in front of them.
5. No Crying, It’s Day Of Celebration
Humor plays a huge role in the Day of the Dead. Participants believe their deceased loved ones are laughing at their jokes along with them. At the same time, the celebration is also meant to prompt somber reflection of the lives of those who’ve passed on.
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