During Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) festivities, food is both eaten by living people and given to the spirits of their departed ancestors as “offerings.” It is mostly celebrated in southern and central Mexico. During the festival, people gather to pray to help those who have departed on their spiritual paths. The festival usually lasts two days. During this time, families and communities get together to hold vigils and parties to honour those they’ve lost. Altars are decorated to celebrate those who have died, usually decorating the altars with the dead’s favourite foods or personal items, hoping that the loved ones will be blessed by spirits. The celebration is somewhat of a carnival, because those who celebrate the Day of the Dead, believe that death is a continuation of the life cycle, and not something to be sad about but rather to celebrate as the deceased is moving on in the next phase of the life cycle.
Day of the Dead is all about family. This is a festival or a time to celebrate deceased family members. It is not supposed to be a scary or sad time, but rather a festive, happy time to honour and remember those deceased family members who have gone to another place. Those who celebrate Day of the Dead believe that it’s supposed to be a time of partying, respectfully, and remembering the good times with the deceased when they were alive. There are many different things that one can do to give back to the deceased in their lives, as you can see.
Have you ever celebrated or know of anyone that has celebrated Day of the Dead festivities? Share your perception or your experiences or the experiences of friends and family who have participated in festivities for the Day of the Dead. What did you do? What did your friends or family do to honour a deceased member?