Dia de los Muertos is an annual celebration in which on the second day of November the spirits of our loved ones come back home and visit us. Like all visitors, they are welcomed with food, drink, and a good time. Their return is thought of as good fortune for their family and friends.
To prepare for this day, the last days of October are spent making a especial pastry (pan de muerto), and desserts; as well as cooking the deceased’s favorite food, and harvesting or buying Mexican marigolds (cempasúchil). This is to create altars in the home or decorate grave sites to welcome the spirits. Often the decorations are in the form of whimsical and colorful skeletons or skeleton heads, since death is not to be feared but embraced.
The Sugar Skull Tradition
Sugar art first came to be in America during the 1600’s; in Mexico, it was learned thanks to friars who made sugar figures such as angels and skulls during festivales. Sugar skulls are a representation of the deceased, which is why they have their name on the skull’s forehead. They are usually placed on an altar or a gravesite during Día de los Muertos as a way to honor the departed during this festivity, as they are colorful and whimsical, with bright colors and smiles.
Although the holiday is mainly in Mexico, it can be integrated into a anyone’s personal beliefs, since it is a great way to celebrate and remember our departed loved ones by surrounding them and us with food, music, entertainmend, all their favorite things. After all, the important thing it’s not how the person died, but how they lived.