How to Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Опубликовал Admin
13-11-2016, 00:48
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Day of the Dead is a popular holiday celebrated in Latin American countries and is especially popular in Mexico. This special holiday celebrates the lives of people who have died. It is believed that the souls of the dead come back to visit their loved ones and is celebrated on November 1 and 2. Contrary to popular belief, Day of the Dead is not a sad or depressing time, but a time of happiness and celebration!


  1. Build an altar with favorite foods and trinkets that the person liked when they were living. Decorate with candles and flowers and do not forget to put a framed photo of the person you are remembering. Spend time at the altar, telling fond and humorous stories about the deceased.
    • Many people choose to pray, and add a Christian cross and statues or pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the altar.
  2. Write calaveras, which are satirical, short poems in the form of epitaphs of your friends. The funnier, the better. Poke fun at your friends' quirky habits or embarrassing moments.
  3. Visit the graves of your loved ones and spruce it up as you see fit. Clean and decorate the grave with ofrendas, or offerings, like orange marigolds called "cempasúchitl" or "Flor de Muerto" ("Flower of the Dead") which are thought to attract souls of the dead. Lay down trinkets and the deceased's favorite candies. For dead children (los angelitos or little angels) bring toys; for dead adults, bring bottles of an alcoholic beverage (tequila, mezcal, pulque) or atole (a cornstarch-based hot drink). Some people spend all night next to the graves of their loved ones.
  4. Set out pillows and blankets in your home so that the spirits of the dead can rest after their journey.
  5. Make ofrenda food. Leave it sitting out in your home to welcome the deceased. It's often believed that the dead will eat the "spiritual essence" of the food. You can eat what remains after the festivities are over!
    • Mexican sugar skulls, also known as calaveras. It is simple to just buy the sugar skulls "ready made" and then decorate with colored frostings. This is fun for the whole family, and especially fun to eat. They are offered to both the living and the dead. To make your own, mix 1 teaspoon of meringue powder with 1 cup of granulated sugar, then add 1 teaspoon of water, mix well, pack into a mold and let dry overnight.
    • Candied pumpkin. Simmer pumpkin flesh with piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar--to substitute, you can mix 2 tsp. molasses with every 1/4 cup of brown sugar), cinnamon and orange zest until tender, then serve.
    • Pan de muerto ("bread of the dead") is a sweet egg bread made in various shapes (plain rounds, skulls, rabbits often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones).
    • Atole. Blend 1/2 cup of masa or masa flour with 1/4 cup hot water. Transfer to saucepan with a cinnamon stick and seeds from one vanilla bean and stir until it thickens. Mix in 3-4 tablespoons piloncillo until it dissolves, then remove from heat. Add pureed fruit (optional) and serve.
  6. Prepare a special dinner. Include a plate setting for every person whose memory you wish to honor and include a favourite dish of theirs in your dinner.
  7. Celebrate! You're remembering and honoring the lives of the deceased, and this is the time for them to visit and spend some quality time with you. Eat, dance, tell stories, and have fun!


  • Sometimes, children dress in costume and ask people on the street for a calaverita (a small gift of money). Unlike Halloween, though, they don't knock on doors.
  • Some people wear shells and dance so that the noisiness "wakes up" the dead, and some people even dress up as the deceased.
  • Usually, deceased children are honored on November 1, while deceased adults are honored on November 2.
  • Catrina figures (costumed female with a skeleton face) are popular decorations.
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