Dia de Los Muertos
Many people assume that the Day of the Dead is the Mexican version of Halloween but while it’s celebrated at the end of October with skeletons, skulls, and candy, it isn’t anything close to the American tradition. It is more like Thanksgiving. A time of food and fun with the family, remembering and celebrating the lives of their loved ones.
El Dia de Los Muertos is a month-long celebration, beginning with lovely little shrines, called Ofrendas, that are set up in each home with photos, flowers, candles, and plates of foods that were favorites of their loved ones.
In Taxco, the town literally glows at night from the candlelight and marigolds that line the streets believed to lead the spirits back to their relatives.
The Catrinas, the highly decorated Skeletons are a whimsical reminder that death is just a part of life, and that everyone will one day be a skeleton. These skeletons are often posed doing the daily things in life – playing a guitar, taking a bath, making tortillas. They paint the picture of the afterlife, where life continues, in all its busyness and beauty.
The highlight of the holiday is on November 2nd when the family packs up and heads to the cemetery. Thousands of families bring their feasts to eat while they clean tombstones, sing songs, and talk about their ancestors.
Tradition holds that the loved ones are allowed to come back on this day and visit the families that have gathered in their honor.
It truly is a celebration – maybe there is sadness, but there is also joy in talking about all that has happened in the past year, remembering happy days and celebrating the newest additions to their family.