Sites & Sights — 31 October 2013

While Halloween is about silly costumes and candy, the Latin community prepares for one of its biggest holidays, El Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead—which, despite its name and proximity to Halloween is not about jack-o-lanterns, candy and ghouls.

In honor of Day of the Dead, the makers of Tequila Partida share these five major points everyone should know about the holiday:

Day of the Dead - Mexico 20061. El Día de los Muertos is a spiritual holiday for every one of all ages. Families pay homage to deceased loved ones by sharing a full day of love, joy and remembrance.

2. Coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, El Día de los Muertos starts on Nov 1st and is celebrated on Nov 2nd (schools, banks and government institutions either close or enjoy half days). Some Mexican regions start celebrating mid-October to November 5th.

Day of the Dead - Mexico 20063. In homes, families create altars to honor their deceased loved ones. In some places it is common to allow guests to enter the house to view the altar. At the home’s entrance, families with a sense of humor place a skeleton dressed in the deceased clothing.

4. In graveyards, families clean and paint the graves of their loved ones, which they then decorate with food and beverage (normally Tequila bottles) that the deceased used to drink.

Other decorations include their photo, clothes, or items that serve as a memorial while families sing to the tunes of mariachis or chicheros. Before families leave the graveyards, they place candles on the tomb in order for the wandering spirit to return home.

5. Finally, El Día de los Muertos is a day of celebration. It’s a time to remember loved ones as well as an admiration of the afterlife.

Day of the Dead - Mexico 2006

-Photos © HSP Media LLC

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