Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (Offerings) to honor their departed family members that have passed. These altars are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favorite foods and drinks of the one being honored. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations! Day of the Dead is a rare holiday for celebrating death and life. It is unlike any holiday where mourning is exchanged for celebration.
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday typically celebrated on November 1. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated.
Victoria, TX has a long rich history of celebrating Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Every year, a small grassroots team of local artists, culturalists, business owners, and citizens get together and plan the initiative. Often located at downtown at the heart of Victoria, celebration sizes vary from year to year.
Many individuals who are not familiar with the Mexican custom of celebrating Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) may have some reservations given the concept of “death”. It is important to understand the misconceptions of the holiday in order to truly appreciate it’s beautiful cultural underpinnings. Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is NOT the Mexican version of Halloween. Mexicans have celebrated the holiday since the year 1800 B.C.
When most people think of the concept of death, it is often accompanied with sadness or fear. Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not scary or morbid. There are no pictures or images of dead people, ghosts, witches, or the devil. The holiday is not a cult. This celebration of life through death has nothing to do with cults. It is a Catholic Christian ritual intermixed with folk culture. Going to mass is an essential aspect of this celebration, however, it does not require a subscription of a religious denomination to enjoy the holiday.
Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) does not honor death, but our dead relatives. We welcome the opportunity to reflect upon our lives, our heritage, our ancestors and the meaning and purpose of our own existence. Altars or “ofrendas” are not for worship but for offering our love and remembering our departed family members. Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not a sad ritual. It’s a day of happiness because we will be remembering our loved ones. Although when in the graveyard, people assume an introspective attitude. Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is about Love, not fear. The holiday is not a “strange” ritual. It is very similar to going to a grave and leaving flowers or stuffed animals, lighting a candle to remember the deceased. It is not a careless or fearless confrontation of death, rather a moment to reflect upon one’s life and the cycle of life and death.