Day of the Dead Thrives All Around the World
Day of the Dead, or Dias de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated throughout the world. This year Day of the Dead began on Tuesday, October 31st and ended on Thursday, November 2nd. The first day of celebration on November 1st is called All Saints’ Day and November 2nd is called All Souls’ Day. All Saints’ Day is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and is set aside to honor church members believed to have gone to heaven. All Souls’ Day was created to commemorate those who were believed to reside in purgatory and died baptized, but without confessing their sins.
The history of Day of the Dead goes back over 3,000 years, to the ancient civilizations in the Central America region. People who celebrate Day of the Dead believe that the dead return to the mortal world during on this day. They believe deceased family members and friends make their way back home. During Day of the Dead, families put out sugar skulls and decorate altars with flowers, candles, and pictures of deceased loved ones. Drinks are also placed in the altar to quench the thirst of the dead after they make their trip back home.
Day of the Dead is not exclusive to Mexico and has spread to many other places, mainly in Central America. Day of the Dead is now celebrated in Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, and certain parts of the southern United States.
Spanish teacher Mrs. Curtis-Kast shared her beliefs on the holiday.
“It’s a very happy time, it’s very different than our perception of death,” said Curtis-Kast, “People decorate the altars of the dead while having festivities, there’s no sadness, that’s not what the celebration is about.”
Day of the Dead has undergone a lot of changes since its original conception. Originally, the holiday was celebrated in June, but was changed to November after Christianity was introduced to Central America. It was also originally believed that only soldiers who died in battle were granted an afterlife, but now anyone who dies is granted an afterlife.
Day of the Dead is a great time to honor deceased friends and family, and all in all, the holiday is a celebration of life and the happiness that comes with it.