While the Day of the Dead may sound frightening, it is actually a joyous celebration of life. Known as Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead is essentially a huge family reunion. What else is interesting about the Day of the Dead? Learn more with these fun facts!
Day of the Dead Facts
The Day of the Dead is NOT Halloween
While the name of this Mexican holiday suggests it’s similar to Halloween, it is actually the complete opposite. Halloween originally began as a night of bonfires and costumes to scare off ghosts and evil spirits; whereas, The Day of the Dead welcomes and celebrates the souls that have passed on.
The Day of the Dead is a 3-Day Celebration
The festivities begin on October 31 and end on November 2. The first day of the celebration starts with everyone getting ready to welcome the deceased by building altars and putting up colorful decorations. On the second day, Día de los Inocents (day of the innocents) the souls of departed children are celebrated. And on the third day, Día de Todos los Santos, the spirits of adults are honored.
Ofrendas, or Altars are Built
To help the deceased find their way back home, relatives create Ofrendas. These altars are made up items such as candles, flowers, food, photos and other pieces that are unique to the deceased.
Graveyard Gatherings are Common
Hanging out in the cemetery is quite normal for this festival of life. During the Day of the Dead celebration, the living can be found in the graveyard, cleaning tombstones and decorating the gravesites while eating food, dancing to music, and talking to their ancestors.
Mexican Marigolds are Plentiful
Believed to attract spirits and guide them home, marigolds can be found almost everywhere during the Day of the Dead celebrations. Yellow and orange marigolds are especially popular because they represent the sun as a sign of life and hope.
Sugar Skulls and Skeletons are Traditional Symbols
Sugar skulls and skeletons adorn most places during the Day of the Dead celebrations. From colorfully decorated skulls to silly dressed up skeletons, these decorations are another way to celebrate and honor the amazing lives of the deceased.
Hairless Dogs Like to Party Too
The Xoloitzcuintli, Xolo for short, is a Mexican Hairless Dog. It is believed that when the celebration is over, these pups will guide the dead back to the other world.
Pan De Muerto is a Tasty Treat
Pan De Muerto or Bread of the Dead is a traditional food made during a Day of the Dead celebration. Shaped into a skull and crossed bones, this bread of the dead is not only eaten, but also displayed on altars and left atop gravestones for all to enjoy.
Fun Facts About Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead holiday, better known as Día de los Muertos, is a colorful celebration where the living honors the lives of the departed. Filled with love, laughter, and song, this unique festival brings everyone together for quite the family gathering.