Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Photo: ANNE

According to, The day of the dead is a holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico during Nov. 1 and 2. This coincides with the Catholic holiday All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day. Many people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of remembering their deceased loved ones.

Although Day of the Dead is celebrated all over the world the colorful fiestas take place only in Central and Southern Mexico in cemeteries and elaborate ofrenda (offering) altars built in the homes to honor specific family members who have passed on. The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico and the Catholic world such as Italy, Spain, South America and the Philippines.

The gates of heaven are opened at midnight on Oct. 31, so the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On Nov. 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

In the afternoon of Nov. 2, the festivities are taken to the cemetery. People listen to the village band and reminisce about their loved ones. They also enjoy games and clean out the tombs.

They believe that happy spirits will provide protection, good luck and wisdom to their families. Ofrenda building keeps the family close. They honor the souls greatly on these days in order for them to be happy.

Special Masses and perhaps cleaning of the cemetery tombs are part of the traditional activities in the Catholic Religion.

“Personally it’s like something you should do everyday instead of just one day out of the year, to give respect to their loved ones who passed.”

Jacky Lopez gives an insight of what she thinks about Day of the Dead from her experiences of her heritage.

A popular Day of the Dead tradition is to dress up and/or to decorate one’s face as a sugar skull. Many people have adopted the sugar skull as a Halloween costume. However, it remains a very important tradition to many people of Catholic descent.

The Day of the Dead is a ceremony for Halloween, but is, more importantly, a day to honor deceased loved ones. Day of the Dead is much like Memorial Day in the United States.