Halloween is a favorite holiday among many people. It’s celebrated across the United States, people of all ages get to dress up in their favorite costumes, children get to trick-or-treat and receive abundant amounts of candy, and Halloween parties are guaranteed to be a great time. What’s not to like about this holiday? However, have you ever wondered what holiday is represented by the various altars devoted to deceased relatives? Or what you may have once asked yourself, what in the world is the popular Disney movie ‘Coco’ really about?
The holiday related to these altars and the ‘Coco’ film is known as Day of the Dead or El Dia de Los Muertos, a popular tradition in Spain and Latin American countries, most commonly seen in Mexico. Keeping up with the Catholic calendar, the Holiday is celebrated for a three day period, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, with Nov. 2 having the most significance. Preparations often begin months before the actual celebrations, showing just how important and serious this holiday is to those who celebrate it. Altars are prepared and displayed within homes, cemetery graves, and even churches. These altars are typically decorated with flowers, candles, ceramic skulls, pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and most importantly pictures of deceased loved ones. Often times these altars also contain loved ones’ favorite foods or items that represent them in one some capacity. During the three day span, prayers and church services are held in honor of all those who have passed away. It is also tradition to spend lots of time around cemetery graves, often eating meals and singing songs along side all loved ones.
The Day of the Dead is a holiday that has great meaning. It is a way to celebrate and remember all those who are no longer here. It is a time to reflect on the many things that a person has done and will continue to do to honor his or her family.