Yep, we’re talking about Day of the Dead.
by John Pacheco
3000 years ago, the Aztecs started a tradition. Each year, they would hold a celebration to honor the dead. Today, that tradition is still celebrated. Millions of people come together, dress up, and eat. Sounds a lot like Halloween . . . but it isn’t. It’s Day of the Dead. For those who didn’t have the holiday drilled into their head from their Spanish classes, La Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 where families come together to celebrate their passed loved ones.
“It’s a fun holiday to remember the ones who passed away with the ones that are still with us,” senior Edi Rivas said.
Nov. 1 is said to be the day that the deceased children, or angelitos, come down to celebrate with their families. Nov. 2 is when the adults come down to join the fun.
The families of the deceased will set up altars, called ofrendas, for the dead. They are decorated with many items, such as marigolds, candles, fruit, turkey moles, peanuts, tortillas, bread called pan de muerto, and more. It is said that the dead come down hungry, so that’s why they give them so much food. Some also place marigolds to the altar to guide the spirit home. Sugar skulls and art skeletons are also used as decoration.
“On the day of the dead, we cook pastries,” senior Michael Cheishvili said.
Once it hits afternoon on the second day of celebration, people take the party to the cemetery. People will be playing cards, laughing, mingling, and listening and singing along to the music of a local band.
“[My favorite memory was] when my family and I went down to Mexico and walked along the malecon looking at all the candles and pictures of people who passed away and celebrating their life,” senior Shaela Marquez said.
This holiday is not meant to mourn for the death of someone, but rather to celebrate their life, as a way to honor what they did live for. It is a holiday that brings many Mexican families together, and one that will not be going away anytime soon.