The Day of The Dead

The Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is a Mexican festival remembering people who have died. It is celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd.

marigold bulletIt is not scary like Halloween, in fact it is a happy time! People remember all the good things about their family and friends who have died.

paper banner skull bulletDay of the Dead is older than Halloween, it is thought the Aztecs started the original celebrations thousands of years ago.

marigold bulletThe celebration has similarities with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2), which celebrate saints and the dead.

paper banner skull bulletNow the festival is mainly celebrated in Mexico, with other places in Latin America, Europe and Asia having their own similar celebrations.

marigold bulletPeople believe that friends and family who have died will come back during the Day of the Dead celebrations to visit and celebrate with them.

paper banner skull bulletFamilies will sometimes set up alters in their house, decorated with marigolds or orchids, food, drink and things their relatives liked when they were alive. They will also visit and place offerings at their loved ones graves.

marigold bulletIt is thought to be very unlucky if people do not honour the dead during the Day of the Dead celebration. It is all about celebrating those who have died with joy and happiness.

paper banner skull bulletSome people think Day of the Dead is a sad or scary holiday because of the skeletons and skulls but they are actually a tradition from the Aztecs, where they were used to symbolise re-birth as well as death.

marigold bulletIn Mexico, the skeletons are called calacas and the skulls are called calaveras.

paper banner skull bulletButterflies are sometimes a symbol of Day of the Dead as monarch butterflies usually arrive in Mexico around the beginning of November. It is thought that the butterflies represent the souls of the dead returning to earth.

marigold bulletPan de Muerto (bread of the dead) is a traditional food served during Day of the Dead. It’s a sweet roll that is usually shaped to look like a skeleton or skull.

paper banner skull bulletAnother favourite food of the celebration is sugared skulls which are made from…you guessed it sugar! They are shaped in to skulls or skeletons and decorated with fun patterns and bright colours.

marigold bulletAs Day of the Dead has become a bigger celebration, in some places there are festivals and parades with lots of music, food and papel picado banners (perforated paper) decorating streets and homes.

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