Imagery of skulls, death, and spirits point to the same holidays, but these images do not conjure up the same feelings for these two very distinct looks at death. Although the two – Halloween and Day of the Dead – are observed during the same season, there are some key differences between the two:
DAY OF THE DEAD
Celebrated on November 1st (children) and November 2nd (adults)
Represented by the skull and skeletons
Known for harmless communication with souls of the dead
Welcoming the return of friendly spirits of the deceased
Signifies honoring the life and death of ancestors, family, and friends
Traced to the Aztec festival of the Lady of the Dead
Connected to Catholicism’s All Souls’ Day on November 2nd
Celebrated on October 31st
Represented by the jack-o-lantern (carved pumpkin)
Associated with evil, magic, monsters, and the occult
Scaring off evil spirits with gruesome costumes and masks
Signifies the end of summer and beginning of winter
Emerged from the Celtic, Gaelic “Samhain” (summer’s end)
Connected to Christianity’s All Saints’ Day on November 1st
Known for its colorful culture and traditions, Dia de Los Muertos is closed tightly to Mexico with people from all across the country celebrating these festivities. Due to its uniqueness, it has been embraced by other countries in Latin America and even some cities in the United States with a large Hispanic population.
Here we present some ideas to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos when traveling to Mexico or even abroad.
1. Enjoy “Pan de Muertos”: Prepared exclusively for these dates, this sweet bread has a distinct orange flavor. It is sold only at the end of October and beginning of November.
2. Visit local markets: The trinkets and souvenirs that have emerged because of the holiday presents travelers the opportunity to purchase unique gifts for family or friends.
3. Visit cemeteries: To really get a closer look at what traditional families do during these days, visit local cemeteries. It is also a fantastic opportunity for photographers to capture unique moments.
4. Find festivals: Even though most Mexican families do not traditionally built the traditional alters in their homes, many cities and towns in Mexico (and some cities in the United States) will host extraordinary and colorful parades, festivals, and events to honor the dead.
5. Take photos!: For art lovers and photographers, visiting Mexico around this time is a unique opportunity to capture unique moments and return home with thousands of amazing photographs.