The Day of the Dead, or El Día de los Muertos as it is known in Spanish, may garner international attention for its colorful traditional costumes and distinctive face paint but for people in Mexico this day is much more than just that.
While it attracts comparison to Halloween for its emphasis on dressing up and eating sugary snacks, ultimately this national holiday in Mexico is all about remembering loved ones who have passed away.
Here’s 5 fascinating facts about this unique day that you may not know:
Like Halloween, El Día de los Muertos is derived from ancient celebrations.
While Halloween is said to derivative from ancient Celtic festivals such as Samhain, the ritual of celebrating the lives of deceased ancestors is believed to have been performed by pre-hispanic civilizations for at least three thousand years.
It is from these celebrations that Mexico’s Day of the Dead as we know it came to fruition.
It’s a happy holiday
While Halloween tends to have undertones of fear, apart from its ominous name, El Día de los Muertos is considered a joyous holiday.
The whole point is to remember and celebrate the lives of family members and friends who have passed away.
There are two Days of the Dead
Despite its name, this holiday is in fact celebrated over two days. November 1st is believed to be the day that children return to the earth to visit loved ones while November 2nd celebrates the return of adults.
Because of this, November 1st is sometimes referred to as el Dia de los Inocentes (the day of the innocents) or el Dia de los Angelitos (the day of the little angels).
The traditional flower of the dead in Mexico is the marigold (cempasuchitil).
Due to its attractive yellow color, this flower is believed to denote life and hope. As a result they are often used on altars and at funerals.
Forget candy, it’s all about the sugar skull
Skulls are a symbol synonymous with El Día de losMuertos. Not intended to be scary, the skull is known as a whimsical motif that celebrates the eternity of the spirit world.
Candy skulls are often placed at traditional altars as an offering to the spirits.
Celebrate this special day and send a mobile recharge to a (living!) loved one in Mexico with Ding today!