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Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead

The holiday Dia De Los Muertos might linger in the ears with an air of spookiness. Contrarily, it is a day of papel,picados, flowers, treats and sugar skulls!

Texas Attorneys at Herrman & Herrman PLLC, enjoy the celebration each year, especially the bread!

What is El Dia de Los Muertos?

El Dia de Los Muertos which translates to “Day of the dead” is an annual festival celebrated in Mexico. It is a time to celebrate the dead, a day of remembrance for the dead; friends and loves ones and celebrating those lives and the ones of those that are still living. The celebration involves altars and offering and depicts Catholic and Aztec practices from the Mexican families.

How is it celebrated?

The celebrations span from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November.

  • 31st of October – Los Angelitos; the souls of children.
  • 1st of November – Souls of the adults.
  • 2nd of November – This day it is believed the souls departed.

Although, these are the most recognized celebrations for the day of the dead, the day of the accidentados which happens on the 28th of October is strongly connected to El Dia de Los Muertos. It is the day of the souls that died in accidents.

The ofrendas is an altar made for the visiting souls. Food, fruits, drinks, pictures, toys and favorite items of the deceased are placed on the altar. This is just a list of common things, anything can be placed on the altar especially favorites of the deceased. However, the most important item in the altar is the photograph of the dead. The altars are not worshipped.

Decorations are made using skulls made from clay and other suitable materials, papel picados; which are cut paper flags, tombstones, and sugar skulls. Pan de Muerto; bread for the dead is made into shapes of skulls and human figures. Traditionally, the bread is made like a human skull with decorations of crossed bones. Traditional foods are made; tortillas, tamales, and tequila. The souls are believed to be thirsty after a long journey so water is always made available.

The stories and experiences of the dead are told. Sometimes, small towns celebrate together holding parties and parades. Families invite people to dine with them and a lot of eating and drinking goes on during the celebrations. Everyone gets to specially express themselves.

What is Cempasúchil?

Cempasúchil, the flower of the dead is symbolic to the Aztecs, once cut it dies immediately. It is used for decorations during the celebration together with orange and yellow marigolds, magenta terciopelo (ruby coxcombs) and nube (baby’s breath). Copal, a tree resin is used as incense to signify the transformation of the physical to the supernatural.

What is Calaveras?

The Calaveras are the edible or decorative human skulls made during the festival. They are made from clay or sugar. The edible ones are eaten as a way to associate the sadness of death to pleasantness.

Where else do they celebrate it?

The day of the dead is also celebrated in Latin American countries and other Spanish speaking countries. Latin American populations in other countries also come together to celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos.

Herrman & Herrman PLLC, native Texas attorneys enjoy celebrating the many celebrations that southern Texas has to offer, and El Dia De Los Muertos is just one that is a special time of year.