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Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Santaluces High School

The Tribe

    Dia de los Muertos: A Beautiful Holiday

    A banner announcing Dia de los Muertos 2023
    A banner announcing Dia de los Muertos 2023

    This week, not only are we celebrating Halloween, we’re celebrating Dia de los Muertos! Known as the Day of the Dead in English, it’s a tradition commonly celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, following close after Halloween. Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated in Mexico, but many Hispanic and Central American countries choose to participate in the tradition as well.

    Dia de los Muertos is arguably one of the best-celebrated holidays in Mexico, but it didn’t just start there. The holiday dates back to the Aztecs, who didn’t dedicate just a day but a whole month to honor their dead. To honor their goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Aztecs held festivities across the land, featuring skeletons, altars, and other grim symbols of death. They decorated altars with flowers, food, pictures, and candy to commemorate the fallen. Music brought the holiday together as families joined and celebrated to remember their loved ones. Surprisingly, according to the Aztec calendar, this holiday landed between July and August but was moved by Spanish priests to coincide with “All Hallows Eve,” better known as Halloween. Now, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd.

    As years have passed, Dia de los Muertos has continued to be celebrated in Mexico and other Central American countries. Family and friends visit graveyards, where they will decorate the site and set out ofrendas or offerings for returning souls. Beautiful flowers, sweet treats like pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and other confections are laid out and enjoyed by the living. Yellow marigolds, known as “the flower of the dead,” and other fragrant flowers are used to build the paths that will aid souls in finding their way home. These paths are said to be very helpful to the dead, as the gates of heaven open on midnight of October 31st, where the spirits of children will be allowed to rejoin their loved ones for 24 hours, and the spirit of adults follows the day after, on November 2nd.

    Dia de los Muertos has spread worldwide as it has gained more popularity in many new cultures and countries. Traditionally, the Day of the Dead was celebrated largely in the more rural, indigenous areas of Mexico, but starting in the 1980s, it began spreading into the cities. In recent years, movies have captured the eyes and hearts of millions of people, bringing attention and awareness to the sentimental holiday. “Coco,” a Disney and Pixar movie, is about Miguel, a kid who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead and has to find his way back to his family. Another children’s film, “The Book of Life,” tells a tale of love and heartbreak while commemorating the Day of the Dead.

    Regardless of new or old celebrations, Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful holiday dedicated to remembering and loving our lost family and friends.

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    About the Contributor
    Vanessa Lara Mendoza
    Vanessa Lara Mendoza, Staff Writer
    Hello, my name is Vanessa! I'm a Junior at Santaluces High School, and this is my first year in The Tribe. I spend my days at school and work, where I'm known as "pizza girl" (shoutout to Mamma Mia's). When I do have free time, I love reading and spending time with my loved ones. My favorite book is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and reading it was an emotional rollercoaster. I'm so excited about what this school year has in store for me, and I hope you enjoy my work as much as I love writing it!

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