La Dia de los Muertos

Amilyana Ruiz

La Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a Hispanic holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and regionally celebrated in Mexico. It is a day that reunites the living and the dead.  

Families of the deceased use ofrendas, otherwise known as alters, to honor and remember their loved ones; these ofrendas are decorated with things the departed enjoyed in life. Some examples of offerings may include drinks and foods such as tamales, a particularly popular offering. Calaveras (sugar skulls) and a pastry known as pan de Muerto (bread of the dead). These are just some things that go on ofrendas, as well as pictures and candles of the departed and Flor de Muerto (flower of the dead) or marigolds. Marigolds are believed to be pathways that guide the spirit’s home because of their bright petals and strong scents.  

On the day of the dead, it is said that the border between the living world and the spirit world breaks apart. During this two-day period souls return to the living world to feast, dance, and celebrate. Rather than mourning the loss of loved ones, people celebrate life and death. These traditions are ripe with tradition and should not be referred to as the “Mexican version of Halloween.”  

 “The more people understand about this holiday the more it will be appreciated,” says Omar Campos, a junior at Palmer High School and the leader of the Dreamer’s Club. The club is determined to speak on issues surrounding immigration, social justice, cultural appropriation, and race. The day of the dead brings people together living and dead. Ofrendas and even just visiting the graveyard makes all the difference in this holiday. “It’s very emotional to see how people celebrate their loved ones and how they get to honor them with specific art,” says Omar.  

The day of the dead is more than just a day with so many rich and meaningful traditions. So, even though la dia de los Muertos has passed, let us not forget the meaning and power of this day, appreciating it for all its beauty and culture.