WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD?
The annual Mexican celebration, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), is a time when families gather to honor and remember deceased loved ones. It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit the living families in homes, businesses and cemeteries. The Aztec honored their dead with fiestas and rituals during the harvest season. They viewed death as the beginning of the cycle of seasons and life.
Día de Muertos festivity takes place at the end of October and November 1st and 2nd each year in Mexico. This is a joyful festivity for families and the community. Music is played at home and at the cemeteries. October 28th is the day of the Accidentados, those souls that died in accidents. On October 31st we honor the souls of children, called los angelitos. On November 1st, we remember the spirits of adults. The spirits are believed to depart the following day, November 2nd. Entire Mexican families construct traditional ofrendas (altars, offerings) that reflect a mixture of Catholicism and ancient Mexican/Aztec cultural practices. The altars vary greatly, depending on village and regional traditions. In the homes, much effort goes into preparing traditional foods!