A Short History of the Day of the Dead

Albert Cano owner/writer



The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, 

It 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. 

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Pre-Columbian Origins

Dia de los Muertos has its roots in pre-Columbian Mexico, where it was originally a month-long celebration honoring the dead. The holiday was celebrated by the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Toltecs, among other native peoples. Due to the Spanish taking over in the 16th century, Dia de los Muertos eventually became tied to Catholicism and changed into the holiday we know today. 

Ofrendas and Altars

The ofrenda, or altar, is one of the most well-known symbols of Day of the Dead. Ofrendas are traditionally decorated with brightly colored papel picado (cut paper), flowers, candles, and photographs of deceased loved ones. Food and drink are also put on the altar as gifts for the spirits who come to visit. 

Pan de muerto, or “bread of the dead,” is another important component of Dia de los Muertos altars. This special sweet bread is traditionally made in honor of children who have died and is often decorated with pieces that look like bones. 


Dia de los Muertos is a unique and beautiful Mexican holiday that remembers loved ones who have died. Don’t miss your chance to take part in or watch this time-honored tradition. It’s something you won’t forget easily.