Article & Photo By: Ziggy Leon Carillo
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday with festivals, feasts, and fiestas for the dead! The three-day celebration has roots from 3,000 years ago and celebrates the lives of deceased loved ones. People celebrate by building memorials, eating special bread, and colorful festivals!
The first day is called almas del pulgatorio, and it takes place on October 31st. It is believed that if someone has died and their body and way of death were never found, their souls are still drifting around on Earth, looking for their families.
This day is dedicated to setting out the deads’ favorite food, drinks, and flores de cempasuchil to try and lead them to heaven. The Mexico native flowers, cempasuchil, are used to make a trail leading the souls to the ofrenda, or offering, and candles are lit in order to send the souls up to The Land of The Dead. It is also seen as rude if one does not set up an ofrenda as it is courtesy to help any and all lost souls.
Day two takes place on November 1st, and it is for the souls of children. It is similar to day one as one sets up an ofrenda the same way, this time with the pictures of the children, candy, and drinks such as juice or soda.
Next, day three takes place at a graveyard, but this time it is full of feasts and fiesta! This day is dedicated to the dead adults, adding things like tequila to the celebration. Families arrive at around 6 PM to prepare the food, drinks, and candles.
At sundown, the festivities begin. The dead come to the graveyard to party and dance with the living. People and souls alike drink tequila and atole and eat traditional Mexican food such as tamales and tacos. Candy skulls and pan dulce are eaten as well, a tradition dating back thousands of years. There are dances and music with drinking all through the night until dawn, when it is believed that the souls return to the land of the dead.
Many festivals take place all throughout these three days, with mesmerizing dresses, facepaint, and music! Maybe you can even celebrate Día de los Muertos, if you have not already.