Dia de los Muertos and Halloween
(How are they similar? How are they different?)
The Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or, the Day of the Dead, is a very important holiday celebrated in Mexico. The Day of the Dead is a celebration where the people of Mexico celebrate and mourn over the loss of their loved ones. Even though this holiday has nothing to do with Halloween, they are often confused.
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. One of the days is dedicated to the adults who passed away, and the other is dedicated to the children. On this holiday, the families of the person who passed away create and decorate an “ofrenda”. An “ofrenda” is a decorated area that displays offerings to the deceased souls. “Ofrendas” usually display photos, statues, foods, drinks, flowers, candles, incense, and even some of the dead person’s favorite things. One of the very important things to put on the “ofrenda” is “Pan de los Muertos”, or bread of the dead. This is bread sprinkled with white and red frosting. The bread is set on the “ofrenda” because it is meant to be taken on the soul’s journey to wherever it is going, along with other foods like candy skulls, fruit, and even toys made of sugar. The “ofrendas” are also dedicated with flowers. The most common flowers that are used are sampascisio(orange flower), and paca de lion(a dark pink color).
Incense burners are also decorated on the “ofrendas”. They are called copal. Their purpose is to help the sprits find a way to this world. Candles are also very important. Their purpose is to light the way to the spirit world. As you can see, “ofrendas” are taken very seriously in Mexico. They even have contests and parades displaying the “ofrendas”. Dia de los Muertos is considered the most important holiday in Mexico.
My Favorite Holiday My favorite holiday is Christmas. Traditionally celebrated at home, Christmas is thought to be a family holiday. However nowadays the habits and ideas of people have changed very much and Christmas becomes more of the global holiday when it is appropriate to meet with many friends and go out for the round the night crazy celebration. Every person finds his own most favorite ...
Halloween, on the other hand, is a tradition celebrated on October 31st. Halloween first started in the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could make contact with it. They thought that the spirits would rise out of their graves and come to the houses where they once lived. So the villagers would try to make them leave by giving them fruits and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of food and bits of treats on their doorsteps, as gifts, to please the ghosts. If they didn’t, villagers feared that the spirits would kill their flocks or destroy their property. Also, they were afraid of the ghosts, so they decided to dress up like ghosts and wander around the neighborhood until the day was finally over. Sometimes some beggars would come up to the houses asking for food. The beggars would tell the people that if they gave them some food, they would keep the ghosts away. This is how the phrase, “trick-or-treat” came to be. Soon, other people started dressing up and saying, trick-or-treat. This tradition spread around all over Europe and came to America. Then in America, Americans thought of a new way to scare away evil sprits while they trick-or-treated. They set out jack-o-lanterns with evil faces carved in them. Today, Halloween is thought of a holiday to act scary, decorate your homes as “haunted houses”, and to dress up as anything you want to be, and go trick-or-treating or even go to Halloween parties.
As you can see, Dia de los Muertos is nothing like Halloween at all. They have totally different beliefs, customs and origins. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday to respect and remember loved ones and Halloween is a holiday to scare away evil spirits and get candy.