Learn the history behind Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”
Learn the brief but important history and traditions behind Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos celebrations all start with a sombrero and inevitably end with a margarita. But as you sway to mariachi music and olé your way around the guacamole bowl, you should know what it is you’re celebrating.
The Day of the Dead, known in Spanish as Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday honoring the spirits of the deceased. The celebration coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day on November 1 and All Souls' Day on November 2.
Traditionally, this holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends in honor of those who have passed. Living relatives will visit graves and build private altars that resemble meticulous shrines and can be erected in the home or on the gravesites themselves.
They surround the alters with signs of their devotion called ofrendas to honor the deceased using former possessions, sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods of the person they lost. The holiday originated in Mexico and also happened to use some of the most brilliant, beautiful, and creative designs to honor their loved ones.
Additional information compiled by Lindsay Burgess.