Dia de los Muertos

Hickman students discuss the importance of Day of the Dead.

Lauren VerBrugge, Reporter

From October 31st through November 2nd, Dia de los Muertos, also commonly known in America as Day of the Dead, is celebrated by many people around the world. Among this group, is some of Hickman’s very own kewpies and their families.


Originating in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration to remember those who have passed and a time to recognize the dead in a fusion of indigenous Aztec culture with Catholicism. Although the holiday starts on the night of October 31st, the festivities are more centered around the 1st and 2nd of November. These day are recognized as All Saints Day and All Souls Day. All Saints Day is to recognize the children and All Souls Day is for the adults. The day is celebrated in a variety of ways, such as creating altars, having parties with food and drinks, parades, and visiting cemeteries.


Some Hickman students have celebrated this holiday in their countries or have history of their families celebrating. Senior Ana Moya talks about how she and her family recognize the holiday in her home country of Spain.


“For my family, everyone goes to the cemetery and gives flowers to the dead people in my family to remember them,” Moya said. “It’s a day to celebrate all the people who are dead or some of your family.”


Across the globe, the holiday is celebrated somewhat differently but has the same message of remembering the dead and loved ones. Although Dia de los Muertos is celebrated less so in America, it is a popular holiday in Mexico, the country the holiday originated in. Junior Adilene Martinez specifies some of the details about how American celebrations differ from the ones in Mexico, where her family is from.


“I would say the difference between celebrating in Mexico rather than celebrating here would be that you really don’t see much celebrating here like you do over there,” Martinez said. “Like over there, they throw this big party, they have music, they close down streets, they make lots of food. Here you don’t see that, all you see is faces getting painted.”


Dia de los Muertos is widely recognized around the world and is an important day to recognize the dead. In many other cultures, such as in America, there really isn’t a specific day to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, unless people recognize them on either their birthday or the anniversary of their death. That is one of the many reasons that Day of the Dead is a unique holiday that is special to Catholic and especially Mexican life and culture. Martinez expresses what the holiday personally means to her family and her culture.


“Well, to my family in Mexico, this is an important holiday because it celebrates some of the fun moments they had with my past family and all the ones that have passed away from us,” Martinez said. “It’s just another way to say thank you for everything they’ve done and they celebrate with parties and it’s a big deal and all. It’s important to our culture and community because they all get to experience and do something for their loved ones that have passed away.”


The festivities are full of life and color and are an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the lives of those that have passed on, as they are with the families throughout the span of the two days. Martinez explains how people of all ages have many opportunities to take part in the holiday.


“I know the high schoolers have to build altars,” Martinez said. “They spend like a month building altars and the elementary and middle schoolers have to announce and say who the person of the altar is, what they liked, and why everything on there identifies that person. The people in Mexico where I live go to the cemetery and like hire a band to play music and food is given out.”


From the lively and colorful festivities to the emotional and memorable moments to be had with family and friends over the two day span of the celebration, Dia de los Muertos surely isn’t a holiday people will want to be caught dead missing out on.