For centuries, the Day of the Dead has been one of the most important fixtures on the Mexican calendar.
While Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a multi-day holiday, the main celebration day is considered to be 2nd November. It is a holiday that draws on lots of different influences from many cultures and spiritual backgrounds.
The origins of Day of the Dead date back many centuries to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuati. Since this time, it has become a holiday that honours the dead, and has spread throughout the world.
Day of the Dead, in its earliest form, was celebrated at the beginning of summer – but this shifted following Spanish colonisation, and now lines up on the calendar with the Christian festival of Allhallowtide, which includes All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. This also ties into the same calendar period as the pagan festival, Halloween. All of these rich and vibrant celebrations pay homage to those who have passed on, and is a chance to celebrate their lives and souls.
How is Day of the Dead Celebrated?
In true Mexican style, Day of the Dead is festive, colourful and joyous. It is about honouring and respecting family members and loved ones who are no longer with us in this world.
Revellers who celebrate this festive Mexican event are known for sporting customary Dia de los Muertos makeup, while taking part in parades and parties. Music and dance play a big part, as does wonderful Mexican food and drink.
Celebrations and festivities are found all over Latin America… with great fare, lots of parties, and the distinctive colourful calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons).
Traditional costumes make the Day of the Dead a visual feast – people of all ages dress up as skeletons – their faces are artistically decorated as calaveras, while they dress up in suits and dresses. Instruments and noisemakers complete the picture.
Mexican Food for the Day of the Dead
What delightful treats culinary treats can you expect for this great festival?
Pan de Muerto – a sweet bread, often featuring anise seeds, and decorated with bones and skulls made from dough. Sometimes the bones are arranged in a circle, representing the circle of life. There may also be teardrops, representing sorrow.
Sugar Skulls – these are part of a sugar art tradition that has been around since the 17th century in Mexico, introduced by Italian missionaries. The skulls are pressed in moulds and decorated with coloured sugar crystals.
Drinks of all types – You’ll find drinks of all types on offer during the festival, from liquors such as tequila, to traditional Mexican hot chocolate.
Are you celebrating the Day of the Dead with your favourite people? We’d love to hear about your festive stories.
To make sure you have some authentic Mexican liquor and food ready on November 2nd, head over to our online store and stock up!