Meaning of Day of the Dead
What is Day of the Dead:
The Day of the Dead is a popular Mexican celebration to honor the deceased. It takes place on November 2, although it begins to celebrate from the first day.
Its origin dates back to the Mesoamerican cultures that inhabited Mexican territory before the arrival of the Spanish, such as the Mexica, Mayan, Mixtec, Texcocana, Zapotec, Tlaxcalteca and Totonac ethnic groups. Originally, according to the Mixtec calendar, it was celebrated during the ninth month of the solar year.
The survival of this tradition after the arrival of the colonizers and the evangelization process is explained in the syncretic fusion of the Mesoamerican tradition with the Catholic one. Hence, the calendar coincides with Christian holidays, such as All Saints' Day, the first of November, and the Day of the All Souls, on the 2nd of the same month.
The purpose of the ritual is to honor and celebrate the life of the ancestors, the beloved dead and the exemplary dead. In this sense, they are gifted with all kinds of offerings and an altar is erected in their memory inside the houses.
As such, the Day of the Dead is a day of recollection and prayer, but also of celebration. The memory and the presence of the dead relatives are celebrated, who that day return home to be with their relatives and to nourish themselves with the offerings that have been dedicated to them.
See also 10 infallible elements in an Altar of the Dead and their meaning.
According to tradition, the 1st of November is dedicated to those who died as children and the 2nd to those who died in adulthood. Also on October 28, those who died due to an accident are received, while on October 30, the children who died without receiving a baptism are those who arrive.
Currently, the festival is considered by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and is held by Mexicans as a symbol of their national identity.
This tradition can also be found in other Central American countries, as well as in some communities in the United States where there is a large Mexican population.
See also All Saints Day.
Day of the Dead and Halloween
The Halloween, contraction of English All Hallows Eve, which means ‘Halloween’, also known as Halloween, is a festival that is celebrated on October 31 in countries such as the United States, Canada, Ireland or the United Kingdom, and whose origin is Celtic. Some traditional activities on this day are costume parties, visiting haunted houses, and watching movies or reading horror stories. As such, it differs greatly from the celebration of the Day of the Dead, but it has been spreading due to the strong cultural influence of countries like the United States.
See also 12 Halloween symbols that you can't imagine what they mean.
Day of the Dead Offerings
On the Day of the Dead it is a tradition to raise a domestic altar, also called the altar of the dead, with offerings in homage to the dead. In it are put food (the traditional bread of the dead), drinks, clothes, valuable objects, ornaments, skulls, flowers (marigold flower) and aromatic herbs; With all this, what is intended is to receive and give the deceased as a token of affection and memory.