Halloween and the Day of the Dead

Posted in Holidays

Halloween takes place October 31, while in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 1 and 2.

Halloween has its origins in old Gaelic celebrations regarding the end of summer and the storing of the summer harvest and getting ready for the cold days ahead, while Dia de los Muertos got its start as an Aztec celebration dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. It is a way to honor the lives and deaths of one’s ancestors, family and friends.

Halloween’s activities are meant to ward off dead spirits by scaring them by wearing frightening costumes and masks while celebrations on the Day of the Dead honor the memories of those who have passed on and encourages those spirits to visit living relatives.

The jack-o-lantern (a carved pumpkin with a candle inside) is the main symbol of Halloween, while the skull symbolizes the Day of the Dead.

The skull is the symbol of Dia de los Muertos .

Scary images abound in Halloween, while images of skeletons and cheerfully decorated graves are prevalent during Day of the Dead celebrations.

Halloween takes place on the traditional Christian All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saint’s Day on November 1, while Day of the Dead celebrations coincide with the Catholic All Soul’s Day of November 2.

Food is a big part of both celebrations, with children in the U.S. going from door-to-door on Halloween asking for “tricks or treats,” with the treats being candy. During the Day of the Dead festivities, many families set out a deceased loved one’s favorite foods by an altar/shrine decorated in their honor either in the home, or at the gravesite. Many families in Mexico and other South American cultures will set up huge picnic lunches and dinners by the loved ones’ gravesites.

The most striking difference between the two is that in Halloween, death is to be feared, while in Dia de los Muertos celebrations, death (or the memories of those who have died) is celebrated.

Whether you celebrate Halloween or you prefer to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, do so at the Mattito’s nearest you.

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