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Dia De Los Muertos: Mexican Holiday Celebrating The Dead

Dia De Muertos is a Mexican holiday set out to celebrate the dead. The celebration is carried out for more than one day and is celebrated particularly by Central and south regions in Mexico and Mexicans everywhere else.

During the holiday, families and friends gather to remember and pray for families and friends who have died. Their remembrance helps to support their spiritual journey.

During the ceremony families and friends have the tradition of building private altars called “ofrendas” and honouring the dead using flowers and Aztec marigolds. Marigold is called the flower of the dead because they believe it guides the dead to their family homes. They also add favourite food and drinks of the deceased. In addition, they visit the grave of the dead and decorate it with flowers leaving offerings like the possessions of the deceased. For the dead children, toys are brought as gifts. In some places, the families leave blankets and pillows for the dead to rest after their long journey.

Decorated altar. Photo: Planeta

During the festival, food is eaten and also offered to the dead. Before the Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration was done in summer but gradually it shifted to 31 October and celebrated 2 November to coincide with the Catholic celebration of All Saints and All Souls Day.

Dia-de-Los-Muertos decorated grave. Photo: Joy and Journey

Scholars have traced the origin of the holiday to indigenous celebration dating back to hundreds of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl.

The holiday is widely celebrated and recognized as tourist travel from all over the world to see the colourful displays and participate in the carnivals held in the streets of Mexico.
During the carnivals, people paint their faces like skeletons to depict the dead and march through the streets.

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