Feliz Dia de los Muertos 🌺💀🌸🙌🏻
Day of the Dead is a unique tradition celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd across Mexico. It is a festival aimed at honouring one’s dead ancestors on the date when their souls are believed to return to Earth.
The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers smell their foods and join in the celebrations!
Day of the Dead is a holiday to celebrate life. It is unlike any holiday where mourning is exchanged for celebration.
Five facts about Dia de los Muertos
It's not the same as Halloween
It originated in Mexico and Central America
It's a celebration of life, not death
The ofrendas are a central component
- Flowers and skulls are typically used as symbols
Who is La Catrina?
One of the strongest and most recognizable symbols of The Day of the Dead celebrations is the tall female skeleton wearing a fancy hat with feathers. You have surely seen her in various contexts because the striking unique makeup has become very trendy in the last years. Her name is La Catrina and the essence of her story goes deep into Mexican traditions and roots but has been restyled only in the last century.
It is believed that the Aztecs worshipped a goddess of death that they alleged protected their departed loved ones, helping them into the next stages. The Mexican tradition of honouring and celebrating the dead is entrenched deeply in the culture of its people.
Famous artist and husband of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, immortalized La Catrina in one of his murals that depicted 400 years of Mexican history. The mural “Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park” was painted in the 1940’s and displays several important Mexican characters with La Catrina showcased on the 15-meter mural. He painted a self-portrait of himself as a child holding hands with her in the front row. Rivera painted her wearing sophisticated clothing and an extravagant hat with feathers, consequently creating the look that she is well-known for today. The mural can be seen in the Diego Rivera Mural Museum in Mexico City. Very well worth the visit if you are ever in Mexico City!
From there, La Catrina became a strong symbol for the numerous Day of the Dead activities. Women paint their faces in colorful make-up and dress with elegant outfits evoking the famous symbolic skeleton. Celebrations are held in the cemeteries (panteóns) where the mood is jovial and people cheerfully commemorate their lost loved ones, offering them flowers and some of their favorite foods and beverages from when they were still alive.