Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos

Jasmine Machmouchi, Contributor '26

Dìa de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday which is largely oriented in Mexico, but has also been celebrated in many other places, which allows people to honor those who have passed.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd . There have been quite a few misinterpretations as to what the Day of the Dead truly is and has been confused and associated with Halloween several times over  the course of the last couple of year due to many sources of media, especially Hollywood, misrepresenting the holiday. The holiday has no correlation to Halloween and the Day of the Dead holds more meaning than Halloween. A major difference between the two holidays is that The Day of the Dead is celebrated over the course of three days while Halloween is only celebrated for a single night. The main reason why these two holidays are often associated with one another is due to the fact that they both share the theme of skeletons. However, in Halloween the skeleton is used as a way to scare people; Whereas on the day of  the dead, many people tend to paint their faces to represent their loved ones.

Ofrendas are one of the most present aspects of the culture. They are usually recognized for the various presence of skulls and skeletons. These ofrendas are used as a way to remember those which  were lost and to give people a way to easily share items that used to belong to the person, or items that remind people of that person. These items usually consist of food, drinks, clothing, hats, and for children they would also include small toys. The offerings tend to include all four elements of wind, water, earth, and fire. For the elements of earth and wind, traditional paper banners are hung up above the ofrendas. The water element is incorporated as water pitchers are left at the altar in order for the spirits to be able to drink. Finally, for the fire element, many candles are light up at the alters and this is for the spirits to find their way amongst all the alters.

Marigold Flowers are also a large part of the culture and the celebration. It is said that the marigold flower helps guide the departed souls during the day of the dead as the flowers create paths for the spirits to follow.  It is the marigold specifically as the scent is recognized by the spirits. This is why the petals of marigold flowers are spread across the roads and are also commonly found at the ofrendas.

Overall, The Day of the Dead is an amazing opportunity for families to connect with their departed loved ones, and allows there to be more closure with the ones you have lost.