What exactly is Day of the Dead and why is it celebrated?
As many people prepare to head out Trick or Treating tonight, I thought I'd take a moment and share some insight into exactly what is Day of the Dead.
We all know that various cultures have different ways of mourning a loss or celebrating the life of a loved one after they have passed. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage throughout the rest of the world. It encompasses three days in actuality, October 31, November 1 and November 2. Since the celebration coincides with Halloween many people have confusion over what exactly the difference is.
The tradition behind Halloween is to dress up in costumes with ancient belief that this would ward off ghosts. Day of the Dead is very different from that in that on October 31st the celebration begins with welcoming the children spirits back for a visit. This is followed by November 1st when the adult spirits are welcomed, and November 2nd is when families will traditionally go to the cemetery to decorate the graves. Altars may be built and offerings made. Flowers are believed to attract the souls and the bright colors and scents may help the souls find their way to their families.
The traditions vary depending on location and here in the United States the celebrations will also vary depending on what town or city they take place in. One thing that is universal is that this celebration is a time for family, food, bright colors of flowers and costumes, and wonderful makeup.
During my recent trip to Mexico, I was able to enjoy much of the Day of the Dead artistry. I visited a wedding venue at Unico 2087 with this theme and I've shared some pictures here. They were in the process of setting it up for a very large reception that was happening later that day. I love that I was able to get a behind the scenes sneak peak look to share.