Day of the Dead 2023: November 2 is observed as Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday. It is believed that the souls of the deceased return to visit their surviving relatives on this day. As a way of observance, numerous individuals visit the graves of departed loved ones and adorn altars with photographs, preferred foods, and beverages.
The History of the Day of the Dead
For approximately three millennia, the ancient indigenous people of Mexico have observed ceremonies honoring the lives of their ancestors. The observance that is presently recognized as Day of the Dead originated during the ninth month of the Aztec calendar and persisted throughout the entire month. The months-long celebrations were shortened to three days known as The Days of the Dead in the 20th century: November 2, Day of the Dead, and Day of the Innocents (Hallowmass) on October 31 and November 1, respectively.
One of the most recognizable Day of the Dead figures is La Catrina, a towering female skeleton adorned with vibrant makeup and a flamboyant feathery headdress. The Aztecs venerated the Lady of Death, who guarded their deceased relatives as they traversed the last phases of the life and death cycles. During the early 1900s, José Guadalupe Posada, a controversial and political cartoonist, created La Catrina as we know it today. Diego Rivera, an artist and the spouse of Frida Kahlo, incorporated La Catrina by José into one of his murals that chronicled four centuries of Mexican history. The mural titled “Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park” depicts the artist himself accompanied by a young infant who is grasping the hand of La Catrina, an elaborately attired figure sporting an ornate feathered hat.
The preparations for Day of the Dead commence early in the year. For deceased children, toys are presented, while for deceased adults, bottles of alcohol or canisters of alote are offered. Most families adorn the graves of their departed loved ones with ofrendas, which frequently consist of marigolds. It is said that the vibrant petals and pungent fragrance of these particular flowers attract the spirits of the deceased to the offerings, thereby directing them from the cemetery to the residence of their family.
Mexican society has observed Dia de Muertos as a national holiday since the 1960s, when the government of Mexico officially designated the day in support of educational policy initiatives. The tradition was inducted into the Representative List of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 2008.
Day of the Dead 2023 FAQs
What occurs throughout the Day of the Dead?
Day of the Dead is observed in accordance with Mexican custom by bestowing gifts upon deceased kin and commemorating their lives.
Which hues are representative of Dia de los Muertos?
The hues orange and yellow are utilized to symbolize light, marigolds, and the sun during this holiday. Marigolds are considered the “flowers of the dead” due to the belief that their vibrant hues and pungent odors will assist the souls in returning to their place of origin.
What is a Día de los Muertos offerrenda?
A collection of offerings and ornamental objects that are ceremoniously displayed during Day of the Dead celebrations constitutes an ofrenda.
Day of the Dead 2023 Activities
Gain knowledge of Mexican culture
This holiday presents an excellent occasion to delve into the abundant culture of the Mexican populace. Gain a deeper understanding of their traditions and investigate some of their most cherished celebrations and holidays.
Observe a local cemetery
Numerous cemeteries emanate joyous imagery, odors, and noises. Visit a local community event on this day, even if you do not have an altar, to behold the sights and sounds that adorn it.
Organize a Day of the Dead celebration in your residence.
This day is intended to be enjoyed in the company of loved ones. Invite guests to a sizable dinner and request that they bring a photograph depicting a deceased loved one; arrange the photographs on a table. During dinner, have each person at the table reminisce about a memorable occasion involving a family member. Maintaining an enjoyable, upbeat, and celebratory atmosphere is crucial.
DAY OF THE DEAD DATES