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What is the Day of the Dead? The origins of the holiday, the traditions, and the way it’s observed

The annual celebration Day of the Dead is in full swing and the annual festival is observed in specific areas of the world in order to honor loved people who have passed away.

Day of the Dead The holiday, also called Dia de Los Muertos, is often compared with Halloween due to the common customs and celebrations.

The Festival is typically held between November 1 to November 2 every year.

But, other dates such as December 31 or the 6th of November could be added based on the traditions of the area.

The event’s theme could be centered around death but the intention is to honor those we love dearly and have lost, and show our gratitude to them.

This is everything you need to be aware of regarding the Day of the Dead and the way it is commemorated

What is the Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead honors the memory of those who passed away ( Image: REUTERS)

The practice that is associated with this Day of the Dead goes back to the Aztecs, Toltecs, and other indigenous peoples, who believed it unjust to honor the dead since they saw death as an integral part of the rich tapestry.

The current festival incorporates indigenous and Hispanic traditions and is a time to celebrate all who have passed away in a manner that reflects both the indigenous culture and Catholic tradition, so important to the nation of Mexico.

What are some customs associated with the Day of the Dead?

Skulls painted with vibrant colors in celebration of the Day of the Dead ( Image: Getty Images)

Day of the Dead was initially celebrated in summer. However, after the Spanish took over the Aztec empire Missionaries started to transform Mexico towards Catholicism that celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1 and 2.

Catholic churches later began hosting Day of the Dead celebrations and also built altars at their houses to greet spirits back into the realm of the living.

Furthermore, marigolds are also used to decorate altars and help guide souls to their final place of repose because of their strong fragrance, and numerous people visit the graves of loved ones and wash the graves.

The sugar skulls which are popular with the Day of the Dead represent how life cycles are, and monarch butterflies symbolize the soul of the deceased.

The colors of masks and skulls have their own meanings as well. Yellow is the symbol of the sun and the unity of humanity since we all share the same values as the Sun. Purple symbolizes the grief that is shared by loved ones while pink represents happiness.

White represents purity and spirit while red represents the life force, or to be more exact, blood which is the essence of life.

What is the Day of the Dead celebrated across the globe?

Parades of color have been held in recent times to commemorate the Day of the Dead

In cities like Ocotepec where people offer their homes to invite guests to join them to have a drink provided they are willing to attend the church and hear stories about the deceased they mourn.

Within Mexico City, people visit the graves of deceased celebrities in the city. Arena Mexico hosts special events where wrestlers are required to fight against the evil spirits of the underworld.

The holiday is now observed in other regions of the world, such as New York which hosts a massive Day of the Dead parade every year.

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