Day of the Dead celebrations and traditions

todayNovember 2, 2023 37

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By Regina Seáñez

Promotions Team Member

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is rooted in Indigenous Mexican cultures. This is meant to celebrate and honor the lives of those who have passed. The Pixar movie Coco is a perfect example of the types of traditions and celebrations that occur during the selected days. 

Day of the Dead is usually from Nov. 1st to Nov. 2nd, however, some even start their celebrations as early as Oct. 27th. The late October days are meant to celebrate and remember the family pets that have passed, but this is also when all the offerings for the deceased begin to be placed on the altar. Nov. 1st is the day that remembers the children who have passed, while Nov. 2nd remembers the adults who have passed. 

To start off the Day of the Dead, families make an altar or ofrenda – an offering –  and decorate it with colorful tissue paper and skulls, candles, incense, marigolds, and the favorite foods of those on the altar along with their pictures. These offerings and their pictures are supposed to guide the deceased loved ones to find their way back to their home, protected from bad spirits, and celebrate with their living loved ones. The altars can be made at home, some even making them at the graves of their late loved ones. 

During these celebrations, some people will paint their faces as colorful skulls and wear vibrant costumes to represent those who have passed, called Catrín or Catrina. This is meant to keep the spirits of those close. The streets in Mexico are usually lively during these celebrations as there are parades, dancing, traditional performances and food. The event is meant to be a party that the deceased are invited to so they can spend a day with their families. 

In the San Marcos area, there have been annual 5K runs in celebration of this event. Adults and kids are able to sign up for the run while all the event proceeds will be allocated to the Johnnie T. Rosales Memorial Scholarship, a nonprofit organization that awards annual scholarship awards to selected San Marcos High School seniors. They have an altar where all participants can place a picture or name of a loved one who has passed and can dress up in their favorite Day of the Dead outfits. This year’s 10th annual Dia de los Muertos 5k Run/Walk was held on Oct. 28th, at Hernandez Elementary School. 

Written by: Danielle De Lucia

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