Ever wonder about the Day of the Dead holiday?
When is it celebrated?
Why do the decorate their faces like that?
What’s up with all the marigolds?
According to Wikipedia, “The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico developed from ancient traditions among its pre-Columbian cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. The festival that developed into the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern La Calavera Catrina.
By the late 20th century in most regions of Mexico, practices had developed to honor dead children and infants on November 1, and to honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).
According to Francis Ann Day,
“On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.”
While obviously this is a Mexican tradition, it has gained popularity in the states over the years. You will be hard pressed, especially in Houston, to attend a party or trick or treat without seeing at least one family dressed up with the Day of the Dead look.
The Day of the Dead has a specific style of makeup that is traditionally associated with the holiday. The style is known as “sugar skull” makeup because of the way it mimics the skull candy which is used in the celebration.
For costume ideas and make up tutorial, visit www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com for more information!
Shop local note!
Visit Casa Ramirez in the Heights for inspiration. 241 W. 19th Street, Houston 77008
Call to confirm hours, (713) 880-2420
National Museum of Funeral History has a permanent Day of the Dead exhibition on display.
415 Barren Springs Drive Houston, 77090 or www.nmfh.org