Sharing Culture: Día de los Muertos


Cynthia Pan

Día de los Muertos: Target displays their Day of the Dead collection by Flavia Z Drago, October 7, 2022.

          The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a holiday popularly celebrated in Mexico and other Latin countries, its earliest roots can be traced to the Aztec people in central Mexico today.

          The Day of the Dead is celebrated for two days. The first day, November 1, is dedicated to deceased infants and children, who are believed to have a special place in heaven and called “Angelitos”, or little angels. November 2 is used to honor adults who have passed. 

          In contrast to the culture of Americans, who typically shy away from the discussion of death, Mexicans embrace and celebrate death. Although the holiday may evoke some sad emotions, the overall purpose of it is to remember and honor deceased loved ones.

          According to Holiday Insights, “They (Mexicans) use Día De Los Muertos as an opportunity to celebrate the death and the life of loved ones and friends they knew in this world. And it is a day of celebration, not a day of mourning.”

          One significant aspect of the holiday is the altar or ofrenda, which serves as a bridge for the spirits to guide their way back to the living land.

          Another key component of the celebration are marigold flowers. Due to their vibrant colors and fragrant nature, they are believed to help attract the souls of lost ones to the altars.  

          Traditionally, family members get together to honor their deceased family members by decorating and cleaning their altars with candles, marigold flowers, pictures, sugar skulls, alebrijes (spirit guides), and food. By doing this, families feel like they are in the presence of the spirits of thoses who have passed on. 

          Spanish teacher Mrs. Morazzini expresses, “Day of the Dead is an important holiday because it’s a way for families to come together every single year and maintain traditions that revolve around never forgetting those who have passed on before us in our families.”

          Similar to other holidays, Day of the Dead is an opportunity for families to reunite and appreciate the company of the living and deceased.

          Sophomore Joseph Galaburri shares the traditions his family participates in annually. An important aspect of it being food. 

          Galaburri says, “My mom goes to my grandma’s house and makes food for lost relatives such as empanadas, and arroz y habichuelas (rice and beans).”

          In the Foran community, the Multicultural Club, advised by Mrs. Morazzini, plans on hosting an event to commemorate the occasion. 

          Mrs. Morazzini mentions, “Hopefully we will bring in some food, watch a little something, maybe Coco.”

          Aside from the school community, Day of the Dead is recognized locally as well. For instance, Connecticut Post Mall’s Target is featuring a Día de Muertos collection, highlighting the art created by Flavia Z Drago, a children’s illustrator based in Mexico and the UK.

          Overall, Day of the Dead is a significant holiday, filled with culture, history and traditions. Families are able to get together, build new memories, and it is an opportunity for them to always remember their ancestors. ¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!