ALL HALLOWED’S EVE.
On Día de los Muertos families visit the cemeteries and gravesites of their loved ones. They clean the sites and leave flowers and candles and, in many countries, they bring entire meals with special drinks and traditional breads to share with the deceased. Displays are set up next to the gravesite that include flowers, hand-crafted skeletons, colorful paper cutouts, candy skulls, personal items, and photos. Family members pass the night sharing food and conversation as they keep vigil for their ancestors.
The celebration of Día de los Muertos spans two days, November 1 and 2.
el cementerio cemetery
los difuntos decease
del esqueleto skeleton
el pan de muertos special bread made for Día de los Muertos
el papelpicado paper cut outs
los santos saints
parade through the Pilsen-Little
Village neighborhood of Chicago.
Some carry mojigangas, giant
papier-mâché puppets typically carried
in Mexican processions.
In other cities, manly Catholic,
people celebrate mass in honor
of their loves one that passed
Dia de Finados is a public
holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by
visiting cemeteries and churches.
There are festivals and
parades, and, at the end
of the day, people gather
at cemeteries and pray for
their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.
Las calaveras A display of dressed-up skulls and skeletons on a street in
El papelpicado These tissue paper cutouts are a common holiday decoration. To celebrate Día de los Muertos, the cutouts form images of skeletons.
Los barriletes Guatemalans celebrate by flying barriletes, or colorful kites, to which they attach messages for the deceased. The town of Santiago Sacatepéquez celebrates with a barrilete contest.
El pan de muertos This bread is made only for Día de los.Muertos. In Ecuador, these breads are called guaguas de pan. Guagua is the Quechua word for “baby” and refers to the bread’s shape. The guaguas are served with colada morada, a warm, purple-colored drink made from blueberries and raspberries.
1. Does your family or community have a special day or specific traditions to remember the deceased? How are they similar to or different from the traditions of Día de los Muertos?
2. Centuries ago in Europe, the night of October 31, before All Saint’s Day, was known as “All Hallowed’s Eve.”
According to ancient beliefs, on this night the dead
join the world of the living. Today we call this night Halloween. How would you compare the celebrations
of Halloween and Día de los Muertos
— old style
Begging at the door grew from an ancient English custom of knocking at doors to beg for a "soul cake" in return for which the beggars promised to pray for the dead of the household.
Soul cakes, a form of shortbread — and sometimes quite fancy, with currants for eyes — became more important for the beggars than prayers for the dead, it is said.
Florence Berger invent soul cakes to remind them of eternity at every bite. So she cut a hole in the middle and dropped it in hot fat, and lo — a doughnut. Circle that it is, it suggests the never-ending of eternity.
Truth or legend, it serves a good purpose at Halloween.
The refrains sung at the door varied from "a soul cake, a soul cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake,”