Saturday, October 29, 2011

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday.  It is a joyous occasion when the memory of ancestors and the continuity of life is celebrated.  It is believed that at this time the souls of the departed return to visit the living.  It is not a time of mourning since "the path back to the living world must not be made slippery by tears".  Its roots are in ancient Mexico but it is celebrated in many North, Central, and South American countries.

It is a mixture of indigenous and Catholic traditions and includes gathering at cemeteries for the cleaning and decoration of the grave sites and socializing. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Today, Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in certain parts of the United States and Central America.  Here in the Southwest it is often combined with Halloween and harvest festivities.

In rural Mexico, people visit the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They decorate gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for dead children and bottles of tequila to adults. They sit on picnic blankets next to gravesites and eat the favorite food of their loved ones.

In the United States and in Mexico's larger cities, families build altars in their homes, dedicating them to the dead. They surround these altars with flowers, food and pictures of the deceased. They light candles and place them next to the altar.

Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead was something I was not familiar with until moving to the southwest.  The colors, foods and traditions of this Hispanic custom are interesting and so very different from anything I grew up with.

Romans 14:1-3
The Message
Cultivating Good Relationships

1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

2-4For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.



  1. i love your heart for those to whom you minister.
    this mexican holiday is not that different then
    our all saints' day.

  2. Thanks Lea! I think the culture is facinating. How can I share my Lord and Savior if I do not take the time to know the person? Just sayin'!

  3. I have read of this holiday before but not all of the detail. It is so interesting to read how other cultures celebrate holidays. Very interesting Tamara! Love Di ♥

  4. I've never heard of this....
    But now I have! :)))
    How is my friend??
    I send you hugs, Tamara.


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