Day of the Dead Makes Its Presence

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Andy Alfaro

The holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 2 mainly by Mexicanos. It all started about 500 years ago, when the Spanish conquistadores landed on what is Mexico today. They encountered

the natives, who seemed to be practicing a ritual that mocked death. This ritual is celebrated in Mexico and parts of the United States today. It has been thought to be a Catholic theology and still maintains to be an Aztec ritual with uses of skulls.

The purpose of this celebration is to honor deceased family members. People don wooden skull masks called calacas, then they are placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. Some make sugar calacas with the names of the dead person on the forehead and then they are eaten by a relative or friend. The skulls symbolize death and rebirth.

People take this day also to go visit their loved ones at the cemetery. They decorate the gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. Some bring toys for the dead children or bottles of tequila for the adults. They may sit next to their loved ones’ gravesites on a picnic table eating their favorite food. They decorate their homes with pictures, candles, food, & flowers to honor those whose lives have been lost.

At school, a group of latinos gathered and are organizing an event to celebrate this holiday. The head of this organization, Merari Puente, said that this organization contains the following; music- mainly ranchera, face painting, food- mainly rice, beans, tamales, empandas & pan de muerto (bread of the dead) This bread usually contains nuts and some other type of filling. It will be decorated with t main Day of the Dead colors: orange, black & purple.

Some people decorate the graves with flowers for loved ones, and anything that specific person loved.

This day is a well known festival celebrated in Mexico, a holiday that make people’s head turns and eye brows raise.  Now the Day of the Dead has spread throughout the United States, and is even being celebrated in this school.

Photo credit: Andy Alfaro/MCT