November Issue
November 28th 2022
80°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑86° ↓67°
November Issue
November 28th 2022
80°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑86° ↓67°

Celebrating Día de Los Muertos

A day to cherish, reminisce, and come together


Día de los Muertos (also known as the Day of the Dead) serves as a reunion for the living and the dead. Day of the Dead is primarily celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, but other days like October 31st may be included. It is widely observed in Mexico and other Central American countries. Families welcome back the souls of the dead to eat, drink, dance, and play music. The living place ofrendas, food, and other offerings on altars. Día de los Muertos is about remembering those who have moved on and reminiscing treasured memories.

The Day of the Dead traces all the way to the Aztecs. Per tradition, the Aztecs would place skulls in their temples to commemorate those they had lost. However, in the 16th century, the Aztec empire fell to the Spanish. The Catholic Church would eventually adapt these celebrations and rituals into its calendar. All Saints Day and All Souls Day were celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. Día de los Muertos combines unofficial Catholic practices and notions, while being influenced by modern Latin-American cultures.

Depending on the country or culture, Día de los Muertos is celebrated in a variety of ways. Typically, families will set up an altar with ofrendas such as tamales, chiles, tequila, and pan de muerto. The altars are decorated with candles, old pictures, and possibly marigold flowers (cempasúchil flowers), which are used to lead souls back home with their strong scent. Papel picado are made out of colorful tissue paper cut into folk art, usually hung up on the altars or walls. In Mexico, families present food and offerings in graveyards to attract spirits. This prompts celebrations filled with music and dancing.

Día de los Muertos is not a day to grieve over those who have passed on. Rather, it is a day to celebrate their lives and cherish the memories of when they were alive. It is a day that brings families and communities together through food, music, and stories.