Dia de Los Muertos

Friday Oct. 30, 2020


El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a day of celebration, particularly for the people in Mexico and Central America, and for Mexican Americans in the United States. It is a day to honor and commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and to welcome the return of their spirits.   The tradition of the Day of the Dead is rooted in pre-Columbian and Spanish Catholic ritual customs Today, this celebration has been increasingly popular among Latinos in the United States. Though many of the traditional elements have remained, the way and where the Day of the Dead is celebrated has changed. However, the unity of life and death continues to be the dominant theme of the art, tradition, and rituals of the annual celebration of the Day of the Dead on November 2, both in Mexico and the United States. 

La Ofrenda

The welcoming back of the spirits is observed in households with the creation of ofrendas. The quality and degree of ornamentation of the ofrendas depend on regional traditions, family and individual wealth, recent deaths, or the year’s harvest. On the ofrenda, the main objects are symbolic of life’s elements: water, wind, fire, and earth. Water is served in a clay pitcher or glass to quench the spirit’s thirst from their long journey. Fire is signified by the candles that are lit. Wind is signified by papel picado (tissue paper cut-outs). The earth element is represented by food, usually pan de muerto (bread of the dead).  Other offerings include mole, fruit, chocolate, atole, toys, calaveritas de azúcar, and copal incense. 

For more information go to: (https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/smithsonian-latino-virtual-museum)