Learning About Día de Los Muertos

Día de Los Muertos is a two-day Mexican holiday celebrating life and death

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Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that celebrates past lives and ancestors. The holiday dates back 2,000 years and originates from Aztec and other South American cultures. Similar to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, the holiday takes place through October 31st to November 2nd. November 1st celebrates children that have passed, and the second day celebrates adults. According to history.com, “the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours.” This holiday is way more than masks and skeletons—it is a way for people to connect with lost loved ones.

Common holiday decorations include marigolds, calaveras (skulls), ofrendas (altars), and baked goods. The ofrendas hold candles, photographs, and sentimental items representing loved ones. Papel picado are cut-out paper art (usually skulls or skeletons) hung up on buildings, altars, and gravestones.

To us, this may seem like a sad tradition, but this is not a grief-filled event. The people of Mexico and all who celebrate use this time to honor and remember their ancestors. This is a time of thanksgiving.