Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is considered the most representative traditions of Mexican culture and is from the Aztec culture that was popularized in much of Latin America.
In 2008 Unesco declared Día de Muertos as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Mexico. In Brazil, there is a similar celebration known as Dia dos Finados, although this festivity does not have the same pre-Hispanic roots as the Day of the Dead.
Origin of the Day of the Dead
The origins of the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico predate the arrival of the Spaniards. There is a record of celebrations in the Mexica, Maya, Purépecha and Totonaca ethnic groups. The rituals that celebrate the life of the ancestors are carried out in these civilizations since pre-Columbian times. Among pre-Hispanic peoples it was common practice to preserve the skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals that symbolized death and rebirth.
Day of the Dead for children
According to tradition, the deceased children are celebrated on November 1, and adults are celebrated on the 2nd. However, for the Catholic Church, day 2 is for everyone, since the 1st is the Feast of All Saints.
How is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico?
The popular belief is that the souls of the loved ones who left us return from beyond the grave during the Day of the Dead. For this reason, they are received with an offering where they place their favorite food and drink, fruit, sweet calaveritas and, if necessary, toys for the children.
A very important part of this tradition involves visiting the cemeteries. Either during the day or night, families come and place candles on graves as a way to illuminate the path of souls on their return home.
Tradition of the Day of the Dead in Mexico
Something inevitable at each dinner and offering is the delicious pan de muerto (bread of the dead). There are different styles and forms. The most popular is round, covered in white or red sugar, with strips that simulate bones.
The Aztecs devoted a whole month to this important celebration, which began at the beginning of August, but with the arrival of the Spaniards and the Hispanic traditions, the dates definitely changed.
As you will realize, the Day of the Dead is a rich Mexican tradition. Do not forget to take your children to visit the offerings and to know this beautiful celebration.
You may also like: Day of the Dead Offerings, what do they mean?
Day of the Dead in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta invites you to be part of one of Mexico’s most important traditions that give identity and pride to our country: “Día de Muertos”. Be part of the beautiful tribute we Mexicans give to those who have already left.
In Puerto Vallarta, we’ll honor our deceased with colorful events and activities beginning in October and ending in November. Join us!
Puerto Vallarta’s “Día De Muertos” celebrations include, among many other activities, art exhibitions, folkloric ballet, Mexican nights, mariachis, and catrinas contest, allowing locals and foreign tourists to experience the traditional and modern cults to the people who left us.