Every November 2nd, Mexicans all around the world celebrate ‘Día de los Muertos.’ That doesn’t make much sense Down Under, which is why you might know it as ‘The Day of the Dead.’
But what is ‘The Day of the Dead’? It coincides with the last day of October and features a lot of skulls, so a lot of Aussies think that it’s just how Mexican people celebrate Halloween. In actual fact Día de los Muertos has nothing to do with Halloween.
It’s actually really beautiful. Rather than mourning the dead, the people of Mexico choose to celebrate their lives by sharing food, memories, stories and photos.
It starts at midnight on November 1st when the souls of the departed return to be in our presence, before departing back at the end of the night on November 2nd.
Mexicans celebrate by creating altars in their homes that are adorned with candles, flowers, pan de muerto (a traditional, sweet roll specifically for the occasion), ceramic skulls and photos of their loved ones who have passed away. Drinks are also placed on the alter to quench their thirst after their long journey home. The deceased’s favourite meal and various treats are also placed on the altar as a bit of a “welcome home” present.
Sugar skulls represent the departed soul, with their name being written on the skull’s forehead. These are not “scary” skulls, which is why they are often smiling and are always adorned in glitter and coloured jewels. These skulls, as well as flowers, are also used to decorate the gravestones of the deceased.
These flowers and skulls are decorated in the traditional ‘Day of the Dead’ colours, with each colour representing something different about death:
Purple – Signifies pain, suffering, grief, and mourning.
Pink – Celebration.
White – Purity and hope.
Orange – The sun.
Red – The blood of life.
Yellow – specifically the colour of Mexican Marigolds. These flowers symbolize death. The petals are also used to make a trail so that the spirits can see the path to their altars.
It’s actually a really beautiful tradition. It has a lot of history and it’s deeply important to the people of Mexico and many other Latin American countries.
We wish all our crew members and Mexican-Australians a happy Día de Muertos! And to all our Australian amigos out there, come in today to celebrate The Dead of the Dead! Experience another culture and try our deadly sauce if you dare!
Happy Día de los Muertos!