Monday, November 2, 2009

Day of the Dead

I visited the Etsy Mexico Street Team blog the other day and they had some info on Day of the Dead that I thought I'd share today.
Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated on November 2nd, All Saint's Day in the Catholic calendar. The purpose of the holiday is to commemorate our loved ones that have died.
I know it probably seems like a quirky holiday for those of you outside of Mexico, but it is deeply ingrained in our culture. The tradition goes back to Aztec times when they had a couple of gods of death. When the Spanish came to America they fused their own Catholic holiday with the prehispanic worship.
Despite all the skeletons in the decoration, it is not meant as a spooky holiday like Halloween is. However, the idea is the same. This time of the year is when the limit between the world of the living and the world of the dead can be crossed by the spirits, so they come back to visit the families they have left behind. It's not spooky or creepy because your loved ones are returning to be with you.
The purpose of the altars are to welcome the dead. They are usually very personalized. If you put up one in your house, it probably is dedicated to family members. Schools usually pick a prominent (dead) figure to honor with their altar, so do other public places. A popular pick is always Frida Kahlo. Traditionally, altars are composed of photos of the deceased, their favorite food, candles, religious parafernalia, cempasuchitl (special flowers), sugar skulls, papel picado, pumpkins, and pan de muerto (a special bread baked just on this holiday).
During this days, it's pretty common for people to go to the cemetery to visit their loved ones. They usually bring flowers and clean the tombs. In very little towns, people still go to the cemetery and spend all the night there, arrange shrines around tombs, bring food and celebrate there.
And here are some great Etsy Finds representing Day of the Dead:
See yesterday's post for my remembrance for my furry friends who have passed.


  1. I was in San Diego around this time a few years ago, and saw a number of altars dedicated to a dead loved ones. Some were more elaborate than others. I found them to be inspirational.These altars are meant to honor the dead person, show respect and love.
    The items you have found do reflect that honor and love. not spooky at all.

  2. Different cultures are so interesting to me. I may not be a skeleton type person but the meaning behind the holiday is so inspiring. Your finds are truly beautiful!

  3. I too enjoy learning about different cultures, and the stories/history/meaning behind their various beliefs and worships.

    Not into skeltons myself, however that apron is really cute.

  4. Thank you for including our Scrabble pendant in this post. We appreciate it. Have a wonderful holiday season!


  5. Thanks so much for linking back to my article over at the Etsy Mexico Team blog...
    You've picked some amazing stuff!!!

  6. Excellent post - and the blue skull is gorgeous!


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