Dia de Los Muertas
The Day of the Dead
In American culture, we see the Day of the Dead as an extended Halloween, but it’s really an interesting holiday celebrated in Latino cultures all over the world.
On November 1st, it is believed that the gates of the afterlife are opened and the souls of children who have passed, come to visit.
Then on November 2nd, the gates are opened again to allow the souls of adults to come through. I think it’s a bit creepy that I didn’t find any information about the gates opening the third time to let all those loose souls back into their eternal resting place.
There was a time when skulls represented macabre and gruesome death. In modern times, the skull is a common decoration for clothing and tattoos.
But in the cultures where Dia de Los Muertas is observed, the beautiful and sometime elaborate face painting that is associated with the Day of the Dead, represents sugar skulls that were once made to place on the graves of lost loved ones during the observance. The sugar skulls were placed on the graves with the departed souls favorite food and drink to help guide them home.
Rather than being the festival that it has become in places like Brazil and Spain, Dia de Los Muertas was a day to give sacrifices to the dead and celebrate the lives you once shared with them. Some believed that if you didn’t give a good sacrifice that your dearly departed might stay here to haunt you, rather than going back to the afterworld!