Life is celebrated in many ways but have you ever thought about celebrating the dead? I know it could sound odd but many believe the loss of their loved ones means they are gone but are never forgotten. Celebrating them could be a great way to keep their spirits alive, to honour them, to reminisce and cherish the memories they had and how one day they will reunite.
“People are really dead when you forget about them, and if you think about them, they are alive in your mind, they are alive in your heart”
“La gente está realmente muerta cuando te olvidas de ellos, y si piensas en ellos, están vivos en tu mente, están vivos en tu corazón”
Day of the Dead is a traditional holiday that has been celebrated for over 3000 years and takes place in many cities and towns in Mexico, as well as other countries like Spain. It is an ever-evolving holiday that has traced back as far as the Aztec people where they used skulls to honour and celebrate the death of those close to them.
This celebration takes place on the 1st and 2nd of November and was made by the Catholic Church in the 16th century, when they conquered the Aztec empire and knew those days originally as All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Dia de los Muertos also known as day of the dead is celebrated in many wonderful ways with traditions such as creating altars in the homes with photos, candles and offerings such as water, chillies, tequila and Pan de Muerto which is a special bread for the occasion for their loved ones souls. They also decorated the altars with beautiful orange and yellow flowers such as marigolds. Day of the Dead is like Christmas to Mexico; it’s a parade or pride, family and love, it’s a celebration, a part of their life, their history, past, present and future. Dia de los Muertos is also celebrated with festivals with music, dancing and people dressing up in beautiful outfits full of culture, passion and colour, as well as incredible face paints of skulls, as if to be the day of the dead.
Did you know that the monarch butterfly is one of the symbols of Dia de los Muertos because every year of the 1st week of November parts of Mexico are filled with beautiful monarch butterflies and there’s an ancient Aztec belief that the spirits of the dead can return in the form of hummingbirds and butterflies.
Traditional holidays like this bring words such as respect, honour, cherish, love, and acceptance to mind. Many struggle with death and Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful way to celebrate death. As well as having a strong spiritual connection, many could learn from its values. It could help people accept loss and seeing these celebrations through the eyes of the people of Dia de los Muertos could change the mindsets of many.
“The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”
“El objetivo no es vivir para siempre, el objetivo es crear algo que lo haga”