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  • Writer's pictureTricia Scheer

Day of the Dead...what does it mean?

I am of Latin decent and my Grandmother's custom was to celebrate this holiday. However unlike Halloween, it is more spiritual in nature. Most people who don't really know the meaning behind this day, find the faces just spooky. It falls the the two days after Halloween...November 1 and 2nd. The Spanish version for "Day of the Dead" is "DIA DE LOS MUERTOS"

The Day of the Dead is actually two separate days, where it’s believed the souls of those who have passed to the underworld can come back to visit. November 1 is Dia de los Inocentes which honours children who have passed away, while November 2 is Dia de los muertos, for the adult souls.

It’s a result of Aztec tradition blended with Catholic influence from Spanish conquistadors and falls on the same days as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the religious calendar.

It’s mainly associated with Mexico, but is celebrated throughout Latin America where families come together to welcome their loved ones with their favourite food, drinks, candles, flowers and incense.

A young girl is painted as a "Catrina" in Mexico City. The figure of a skeleton wearing an elegant broadbrimmed hat was first done as a satirical engraving by artist Jose Guadalupe Posada sometime between 1910 and his death in 1913.

“It’s a way of remembering ones’ forebears and wishing them well in the next world,” said Richard Maudslay, Chairman of the British Mexican Society. “It also does a great job in bringing families together. People will either go to the graveyard … or they might well set up a little altar with flowers and food and drink in their homes.”

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