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Facts about the Day of the Dead - A Traditional Mexican Celebration

DESTINATION | Published on 11/10/2018
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Over the years, you may have heard rumors that Mexicans celebrate death rather than mourning it. While this may seem strange to some and others would say this is only partially true, the reality is that for three days a year, individuals from one end of Mexico to the other honor those who have passed on to another life in a grand celebration that is based on tradition and love.

While more and more individuals have become familiar with the facts about the Day of the Dead, there are still many people who find themselves asking “What is Dia de Muertos?” Information about the Day of the Dead is abundant, but if you’re interested in learning Day of the Dead facts, you’ll find more than enough to familiarize yourself with the event below:

1. The Day of the Dead in Mexico is much different than the American tradition of Halloween. While both are celebrated around the same time, the basic notion behind the reasons the dead return to earth shows a strong contrast between the two holidays. During Dia de Muertos, the dead are believed to return to celebrate alongside their loved ones. On the other hand, on Halloween, souls are believed to return to haunt or play tricks on the living. This drastic difference is just one of the many Day of the Dead facts that differentiate the two widely celebrated events each year.

2. Dia de Muertos is a two day festival in Mexico, celebrated on November 1st and 2nd each year. Facts about the Day of the Dead indicate that the first day is spent in honor of angelitos, or little angels; young children who have left earth before their time. The second day is dedicated to adults who have previously passed away.

3. Among the most important information about the Day of the Dead in Mexico is that it is a grand celebration, in which individuals remember and honor family and friends that have passed away. It truly is a time to remember the good times you spent with those you love.

4. Day of the Dead is a happy time in Mexico with celebrations honoring the dead and beautiful decorations strewn about the streets of town and the homes of those who create altars for their loved ones. There is nothing sad about the festival in Mexico even though it is related to those who are no longer living.

5. While the Day of the Dead in Mexico is an important holiday, Mexico is not the only country around the world that celebrates and honors the dead in the same way. Many other countries throughout Central and South America celebrate similar holidays, and there are even festivities in other parts of the world that recognize the inevitable connection between the living and the deceased.

6. Every year on the Day of the Dead, hundreds of thousands of families throughout Mexico create special altars in their homes and at the grave sites of their loved ones in honor of the unique qualities and specific memories of each deceased person. Altars are even set up in public places, such as shopping plazas, town squares, and schools.

7. Traditional Day of the Dead altars include essential elements, such as candles, which represent faith, hope, and the light that guides us in this life and the next, and salt, which helps purify the souls and provides them the means to socialize with the living. Also included in an altar de muertos is a photograph of the deceased individual, candy skulls, which signify the constant presence of death in our lives, the food that the deceased person loved to eat, pan de muerto (bread of the dead), water, which helps the returning souls to quench their thirst after a long journey, and a cross. The final element that can be seen on almost every Dia de Muertos altar are Cempasuchil flowers that are believed to bring life to the dead.

8. One of the most interesting facts about the Day of the Dead revolves around the idea that the dead are in attendance throughout the festival in Mexico. Early Mexicans believed that spirits could easily travel back and forth, allowing them to be present on the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

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