Dia los Muertos

Sofia Cancino

It was more then 500 years ago when the Spanish Conquistadors first explored Mexico. The year was around 1519. This is the year that the conquistadors came across the native Aztecs performing an estranged ritual that looked as if the natives were mocking death instead of showing respect to it. This ritual was later copied by the conquistadors, though their attempts were sour. The ritual today is known to us as Dia de los Muertos, or the day of the dead.

Unlike these exploring Spaniards, who saw death as the end of life and something to fear, the natives viewed death as the continuation of life and something to actually celebrate. This holiday known as the Day of the Dead, or as known in Mexico as “Dia de los Muertos” is celebrated mainly in Mexico or mostly by people with Mexican heritage and others who reside in United States and Canada who are intrigued by this cultural holiday. The holiday is mostly set for the remembrance and prayer of family and friends who have passed. Unlike Halloween, which is the 31st of October, the day of the dead celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November. The closest sister holiday in the United States is the Catholic holy days, including “All Saints’ Day” and “All Souls’ Day” which celebrates their holidays on the same day as the day of the dead. Traditionally the people who celebrate “Dia de los Muertos”, build private altars honoring the deceased using items such as skulls, marigolds, and what they can remember as their passed loved ones favorite foods and beverages, they then continue by visiting their graves with these items as gifts. They also wear masks made of wooden skulls and are placed on top of the altras that they have built. Sugar skulls, made with the names of the dead person on the forehead, are eaten by a relative or a friend, (According to Mary J. Adrade, author of three books on the Day of the Dead, “www.Wikopedia.com”). The Aztecs kept the skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth. This holiday has been traced back by thousands of years by scholars, it’s dated so far back that it actually primarily originated from an Aztec festival to celebrate the dedication to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl, or known in English as “The Lady of the Dead”.

Hopefully students around campus attended the events that happened around San Diego City College. There was events hosted by the Student Government including a dunking booth and another event hosted by the International Amnesty club. Happy Halloween and a happy Dia de los Muertos!