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On November 1st and 2nd, Mexicans all over the world celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” This holiday is a time to remember and honor our ancestors who have passed away. Families build altars and put food and drinks, photos, and other personal items on them as gifts. One of the most important food offerings is pan de muerto, or “bread of the dead.” This festive bread is often decorated with skulls and bones, and it is eaten in remembrance of our loved ones. The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that honors and celebrates deceased loved ones. This time-honored tradition dates back to pre-Columbian times and is still an important part of Mexican culture today. Here’s a brief history of the Day of the Dead and some of its most iconic symbols.
Dia de los Muertos has its roots in ancient Mexico, where it was first celebrated for a whole month. The Aztecs celebrated a festival called Miccailhuitontli in honor of the goddess Mictecacihuatl, who ruled over the land of the dead. After the Spanish took over Mexico in the 1600s, the holiday changed into what we now call “Day of the Dead” or Dia de los Muertos. Although it is traditionally celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, these days, the holiday is often celebrated all month long.
There are many ways to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Families build altars, or ofrendas, to honor their ancestors. Most of the time, these altars have food and drink offerings, as well as pictures and other personal items. Candles are also often used to help guide the way for departed souls as they visit their loved ones for one day. Many people also wear calacas (skeleton) costumes and paint their faces to look like skulls (calaveras). Of course, no Dia de Los Muertos celebration would be complete without pan de muerto! This tasty bread is traditionally baked in the shape of a skull or coffin, and sugar skulls or almonds are often used to decorate it. It is eaten in remembrance of our loved ones who have passed away.
Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful holiday that celebrates life, death, and family. If you have never celebrated before, I hope you will consider doing so this year. And don’t forget the pan de muerto!