El Dia de Los Muertos
/El Dee ya de Los M wer tos/
The Day of the Dead
In Mexico we celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Death). This is more of a holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). Traditions connected with this holiday include building private altars, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these all these as gifts.
This is a traditional holiday that has been celebrated for many, many years. This tradition or holiday, however youd like to call it, is taught at school, church and home; its more of a spiritual connection to remember the loved ones and to know the ones that we never met.
Leslie told me that even though she was born in the USA she had heard about this holiday since she was little, however only witnessed it once, during a family visit to Mexico, and was fascinated by all the festivity and the ceremonies.
This certain Mexican Day of the Dead reminded me of the Italian Il Giorno dei Morti (also translates directly to The Day of the Dead) that I encountered when living in Rome. However, there is a difference, though the Italians visit the grave of their beloved with the same devotion as the Mexicans, the part that involves presents does not exist in their tradition. They bring nothing to the cemeteries other than the appropriate mourning items such as flowers and the likes. I tend to favor the much more warm and colorful Mexican way. In Judaism, my own religion, we do not have such a holiday, and we only have a gathering near the grave on the anniversary of the dead person day of death. At this time there is mainly a special form of prayer, and everyone picks a little stone and puts it on the grave. Flowers are not allowed by Jewish tradition, although unreligious people do put them. The reason for putting stones from my understanding is because they last longer than flowers, which eventually die and are removed from the grave. This Mexican holiday again makes me aware of the different approaches each religion has towards the dead, Judaism being the most solemn one so far.