Dia De Los Muertos Is Not Your Halloween by Nuestra Hermana
As we all know, Halloween in America is right around the corner. Kids & adults alike will be dressed up in costumes, consuming candy, attending parties, navigating through haunted houses and thoroughly enjoying their night. Think about your last Halloween and look at the images above.
These are still shots of Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, California & Arizona. They are small snippets of a vibrant, important and REAL holiday for Latin@s. This is not your Halloween.
Dia De Los Muertos developed out of over 2,500 years of indigenous ritual celebrating death and paying respects to loved ones who have passed away. Scholars state that the Aztecs originally held a month long festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the ruler of the afterlife.
After Spanish colonization and many attempts to eradicate the rituals & festival, a new merging with the Catholic holidays All Souls Day & All Saints Day developed over time to what is now Dia De Los Muertos.
Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated November 1st & 2nd (in alignment with All Saints Day & All Souls Day respectively). It is NOT celebrated on October 31st, it is not tied in with Halloween in America at all.
In Mexico, November 1st is dedicated as Dia De Los Inocentes, a day to honor and respect the innocents, children & infants to be more specific. November 2nd is Dia De Los Muertos, the day to honor deceased adults.
On these days, altars are made in honor of them. People build them on their loved ones graves, at home or anywhere they find rightful to honor their loved ones. They make ofrendas (offerings) to the dead of their favorite foods, toys (for children), pictures, pan de muertos, sugar skulls and many other things that help guide the spirits of the dead safely to the altars. Marigolds, known as the flowers of the dead, are usually prominent in the altars.
In Mexico, many people sleep overnight at the graves. Every ritual & altar is not the same everywhere. Many places have their own traditions and ways of honoring the dead. One thing is for sure, Dia De Los Muertos is not Halloween. It is a sacred time and holiday for Latin@s everywhere.
So, when you’re dressing up for Halloween remember: doing this, this, this or this is not only disrespectful but it is also a erasure of someone’s real life culture. Think before you walk out of that door.