8 Things you need to know about the Day of the Dead
“A civilization the denies death ends by denying life.”- Octavio Paz.
Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration to remember our loved ones that have passed away. México is the land of celebration, but the Day of the Dead is one of the most important celebrations of all.
The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico come from ancient traditions going back to pre-Columbian times. The Aztecs used to practice rituals to celebrate the deaths of their ancestors, the ritual was dedicated to the goddess known as the “lady of the Dead”, nowadays known as “La Catrina”.
Here are 10 things you might not know about Día de Muertos.
- In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is always celebrated on the same day, November 2nd. During this day, we remember the adult souls and on November 1st the souls of children.
- In 2008 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, recognized the importance of Día de Muertos and added this holiday to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Day of the Dead is not Mexican Halloween. It is a day full of love, respect and remembrance for the loved ones that have passed away.
- The centrepiece of the Day of the Dead is the altar or “Ofrenda”. Most of the time set in people’s houses. They are decorated with cempasuchil flowers or marigolds, candles to show the way back to the world of the living, and ornaments that represent the things our loved ones used to love, such as food, beverages, objects and pictures.
- In Mexico, during this celebration, people write “Calaveras”, which are short poems about a living person, but related to death. They are usually funny. They were created by Jose Clemente Orozco, who was a painter and caricaturist, his most famous work related to the Day of the Dead is the “La Catrina”. Here is an example of a calavera or calaverita:
Oh, how clumsy was my neighbour
Who did try so very hard,
She was doing me a favour
When Death dealt her grievous card.
Yes, too clumsy was my neighbour,
But she tried so very hard
‘Till she met the First Engraver
(Left the car, of that I’m glad).
6. People visit cemeteries and spend the day and sometimes the night there. They bring food and music and make it a beautiful celebration of life and death.
7. Food is very important on this day, some of the most traditional dishes eaten on this day are Pan de Muerto, which is a sweet bread, featuring orange blossom and decorated with bones and skulls made from the same dough. Other popular dishes are mole, tamales, pozole and pumpkin empanadas.
8. On the Day of the Dead, people gather and remember their loved ones that have passed away by celebrating and cooking a feast with the food the person you are remembering used to like.
Here at Mextrade, we are going to be celebrating by eating a delicious Mole, we are sharing the recipe with you soon.
Feliz Día de Muertos