Dia De Los Muertos
It takes place between the evening of October 31st and the morning of November 1st. What you do is set out the favorite items, favorite foods, and a picture of the deceased. You could also put out religious items, or items that have sentimental value to the person. A critical part of it is that the spirits of the deceased are supposed to come back during this time period. Its normal for the family to come over the evening of November 1st to talk about the person. Stories, memories, and its also an opportunity for the children who didnt know the person to get to learn about them. Its about keeping yourself connected to your past. I enjoy it because it gives me an idea of where my mother came from.
I think that Dia de los Muertos is a great idea for a holiday. I appreciate this holiday because it is about respecting your ancestors, essentially. In addition the holiday teaches people not to fear death, but rather to embrace it, and to respect those that came before you. The only part of the holiday that I find slightly disturbing is the fact that the spirit of the deceased are supposed to come back. That scares me.
This holiday could be analyzed by the time of year that it falls during and how that is related to the holiday. During that time period, Late October early November, things are beginning to die off, and there lies a relation to death. If you look at the year in terms of the human life cycle, by the time that November comes around the year is in the later part of its life, thus another connection to death.
This example also comes up in Of Corpse which confirms the principals of the holiday that Melissa described. The book goes further in depth to describe the loose connection between the Catholic Church and the holiday. As well the book further details the rituals that take place. (202)
Congdon, Kristin, and Peter Narvaez. Of Corpse. Logan, UT: Utah State University