Day of the dead is a Mexican holiday that is a mixture of both Pre-Hispanic & Catholic traditions. Day of the dead is actually broken up into 2 different parts: All Saints Day (Nov 1) & All Souls Day(Nov 2) . On Nov 1 all children who have passed on are remembered. A bigger celebration takes place on the second day. There are lots of customs that go along with the celebration. On of the biggest & most important : the decorating of loved one’s graves with” flowers, colorful festive adornments, candles, candies & treats. Also the person’s favorite food is prepared and offered to them. In the begining this was offered as a sign of help for the deceased so that they would be well prepared for the after life. Now a days it is a symbol of commemoration & celebration. It is used to remember who the person was & the life they lead. Beside the decoration of graves, some people build alters at home with the pictures of a loved ones & mementos. These alters are built with the same decorations & material used for the graves.
Families spend long hours working on the graves & alters, some begin very early in the morning. All of it is considered a work of art, because it shows : hard work, dedication, tradition, and creativity all in an effort to offer a good alter . Another aspect of the celebration is: people spending the whole day visiting loved ones’ graves & eat food they have taken to celebrate. This symbolizes that they still feel a connection with them & do not forget them or their presence. The basic meaning of this whole holiday is : We should never forget the beauty of life & celebrate it. We should rejoice that those who have passed away can rest in peace, and will always be in our hearts & in our lives.
Some towns hold parades in which people dress up like death, the meaning behind all this is not creepy or sad, it’s happy & satirical. Also at these parades traditional folkloric music & dances are performed.
During these celebrations, not just the two days, but rather a few weeks ahead Dia de Los Muertos products are sold: Toy skeletons, candies & bread are available. You can buy a skeleton and have your name put on it, symbolizing you mocking your own death. Paper mache skeletons are a big part of the decorations & tradition. Because this is a holiday about life rather then death, the skeletons are depicted as everyday people in everyday situations!
WHERE TO BUY DAY OF THE DEAD PRODUCTS:
PAN DE MUERTO(BREAD) : http://www.mexgrocer.com/10069.html
WOW! This supermarket went all out & made a whole day of the dead corpse!