If you’re looking for an exciting vacation experience this fall, consider vacationing in Mexico during Diai de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This interesting holiday is celebrated on November 1 & 2, and coincides with the Catholic holidays, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The holiday honors the dead with festivals and lively celebrations. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most stronly associated with Mexico. Keep reading to learn more about the origins and traditions of this unique holiday.
Origins of Dia de los Muertos
Rather than mourning the loss of loved ones, Dia de los Muertos celebrates their lives through festivals and parties, featuring food, drinks and activities that the dead enjoyed in life. It is believed that the gates of heaven are opened to allow the spirits of the deceased to reunite with their families during the celebration. The holiday dates back to pre-Hispanic civilizations from 2,500 to 3,000 year ago, long before the Spaniards conquered Mexico. That celebration took place in the 9th month of the Aztec calendar and lasted the whole month. Today’s celebrations last just two days at the beginning of November. Dia de los Muertos is now Mexico’s most important holiday, in which they invest a lot of time and money into the celebrations.
Dia de los Muertos Fun Facts
- Families will often set up altars in their homes, inviting the dead to return for a visit. They place offerings of food, drink and marigolds to entice them back. This is one of the most important traditions of the holiday.
- People hold a belief that the spirits of the departed need food and drink to sustain them in their travels between this world and the next.
- Altars also often include a washbasin for the dead to “spruce up” when they return.
- Many people hold vigils and place offerings at their loved ones’ graves.
- The sugar skull is a popular symbol of the holiday, and is used in everything from candy to toys and paper mache skeletons. The skulls are meant to represent the life and individuality of the departed.
- Unlike scary Halloween skeletons, Dia de los Muertos skeletons are more whimsical. You’ll find people wearing skeleton makeup and animal skeletons too.
- Pan de Muerto is a dish traditionally prepared for Dia de los Muertos. It is a sweet roll made with sugar, eggs, flour, milk, water, margarine, salt, yeast and anise seed. It is usually molded into the shape of a skeleton.
- In most regions of Mexico, November 1st honors children and infants, whereas the adults are honored on November 2nd.
- Dia de los Muertos is a time of joyous celebration. The Aztecs did not believe in mourning their dead, as tears would make the spirits’ journey more difficult.
- Marigolds are the traditional flowers used to honor the dead. It is yellow like the sun and represents both life and hope. The scent is also supposed to lead the spirits home.
- Literature skulls are illustrations that include a short epitaph-style poem describing interesting habits and attitudes or funny anecdotes about the deceased.
- The most iconic skeleton is La Catrina, created by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada in the 1800’s.
- Legend has it that neglected spirits may seek vengeance on those who have forgotten them. Many folk tales describe how those who ignore their deceased loved ones fall ill and even meet their death after the holiday.
Spend Dia de los Muertos in Los Cabos
Anytime of the year is a great time to visit Los Cabos, as the area experiences sunshine and warm temperatures all year round. However, if you really want to experience Mexican culture, consider visiting during Dia de los Muertos! Just give Lifestyle Villas a call today at 1-888-655-9589 to start planning your fall getaway. We have a variety of beachfront, ocean view and golf view luxury villas in Los Cabos to accommodate any size group. In addition to the best accommodations in Cabo, we offer an array of in-villa services to ensure your vacation experience is an enjoyable and unforgettable one!
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