Celebration – Mexico

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

The entire village or neighborhood goes to the tombstones of family friends and relatives. They bring flowers, the dead person’s favorite food (which is necessary), water, and fruit to leave at the grave. The also stand around and sing traditional mariachi songs.


The Day of the Dead celebration is a traditional Mexican custom occurring on November 1 (All Saints Day) and 2nd (All Soul’s Day). The subject said that it is a huge celebration for their ancestors and relatives who have recently died. I asked her who went with her to the graveyard and she said the entire village (when she goes back to Mexico) or the neighborhood (when she stays home in Los Angeles). She said you can see droves of people walking to the graveyard with tons of gifts for the dead. She said that flowers and the dead person’s favorite food is necessary. Fruit and water come next in line to leave at the grave.  She said that everyone stands around the graves and sings traditional mariachi songs. She said that it was a time of celebration not one of mourning.

I have heard of the Day of the Dead celebration, especially since I am from Arizona, there are huge festivals and art galleries dedicated to different art work (such as altars) in light of the Day of the Dead. When I looked up the Day of the Dead, one of the first websites was one from the Arizona paper, so I clicked on it and found links to all of the celebrations in my hometown where you can make arts and crafts, watch films, view different altars and make sugar skulls. It cites the history as, “More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. A ritual known today as Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The ritual is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of the United States, including the Valley… Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual, such as the use of skulls” (Miller 1).

Another website went a little more in depth with the history of the celebration saying that it went back to Aztec culture in which they observed a month of the dead dedicating the festivities to the goddess, Mictecacihuatl, known as the “Lady of the Dead”, which is now known as Catrina (picture below). The website lists some of the customs, including building graves and offering food to the dead. It also mentions the orange marigold, which is now called the “Flor de Muerto” or flower of the dead and is meant to attract souls of the dead to the food. As you can see the subject celebrates it very traditionally with offering flowers and food.


Miller, Carlos. “Indigenous People wouldn’t let ‘Day of the Dead’ die.”  Azcentral.com. Apr 7                07. http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dead/history/