Though I am not the Huffington Post’s biggest fan, I must admit that Daniel Cubias’ article “Día de los Muertos Is Not Halloween” really impressed me.
As Hispanic culture becomes more and more mainstream, it truly is getting diluted and horribly misunderstood as well as misconstrued.
Here in Canada I have seen a commercial for a party and costume provider that has a couple of actors in Día de Muertos make-up, at first I thought, COOL! But, they are portrayed as scary…Uh, No!
Calacas and Calaveras are not used to evoke fear or sadness, quite the contrary. They serve as a reminder that no one escapes La Flaca (Death, called The Skinny One, just to provide more insight into México’s humour) and that death is not to be feared or to be mourned, it is a time for celebration! It is a time when we Pray for and honour our loved ones. We celebrate their lives! On these days, our departed loved ones join us and feast with us on their favourite dishes, drinks, and desserts.
Ofrendas (offerings) are placed on altares that are decorated with papel picado (perforated paper), candles, pictures of our loved ones, cempazuchitl (marigolds), calaveras (sugar skulls), pan de muerto (bread of the dead), beverages, toys, anything that your deceased loved ones enjoyed in life.
You can read a lot more about El Día de Muertos here.