Día de los Muertos: A colorful celebration of life & death
Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not “Mexican Halloween.” While it seems as though they might share some similarities, they’re actually quite different in both meaning and tradition! Unlike Halloween celebrations in the U.S.—where we overindulge in scary movies and candy—Día de los Muertos is a colorful celebration and remembrance of the lives of those who have passed on. Beginning the evening of October 31, families decorate their relatives’ graves with bright marigolds and create ofrendas (or altars) with photos and personal items to honor their relatives. They also celebrate with food, drinks, and activities that their loved ones enjoyed in life!
Listen to one of our staff members, Brenda Rodriguez, talk about how she celebrates Día de los Muertos!
Día de los Muertos Transcript
Interviewer: Amy Imsdahl, EchoX Staff
Interviewee: Brenda Rodriguez, EchoX Staff
Guitar music fades in
Hi, my name is Brenda Rodriguez and I am an art staff member at EchoX and today, I’ll be talking about Día de los Muertos and sharing with you all how I plan to celebrate this year.
So, due to COVID, I will not be celebrating with my family […], so I will just be making a small ofrenda, which is an offering, in my tiny home. And it usually requires like a small table and a cloth (and you can use some bread and candles) and you put photos of your loved ones that have recently passed or have passed for some time.
My favorite part about Día de Los Muertos – people usually say it’s about like the sugar skulls or the bread, but mine is actually about the photographs because when you put your ofrenda up on the table for people to see, you’re looking at photographs of your ancestors and your generations. I’m a photography major, so I love just seeing the past family members that have lived before me.
The way we usually celebrate it is we just put up the ofrenda a few days before [Día de los Muertos] and we usually pray. And in Mexico (which I haven’t experienced it [there] before) people go to gravesites and they have this huge festival that goes on for a full day, and they just celebrate each other’s loved ones which I think is amazing! But I think it’s slowly coming to the United States.
Thank you for listening, and I hope when you have your Day of the Dead celebration it can be just as beautiful because no ofrenda has to be perfect. As long as you have your family’s love [and the photographs in it,] that’s all that matters.
Guitar music fades out.
Learn more about Día de los Muertos
- A Celebration of Life: Día de los Muertos — Explore Oaxaca, Mexico in this beautiful video that captures the unique traditions of Día de los Muertos from the Beautiful Destinations YouTube channel!
- Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos — Enjoy this website entirely dedicated to celebrating all things Día de los Muertos. All the content from this site comes from professional writers in Mexico that have first-hand experience and are excited to share their knowledge and passion.
- “The Meaning Behind Six Objects on Día de los Muertos Altars” — Read about the six common objects that are often used to decorate ofrendas and the meaning behind each object in this Smithsonian Magazine article.
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