Dia De Muertos/Day of the Dead

Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday honoring the dead on Nov.2. Celebration begins on Nov. 1 with Dia de Muertos Chiquitos (Day of the Little Dead).

These celebrations/rituals coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. It is a joyous occasion that celebrates the memory of departed loved ones and ancestors. It is not a time of mourning but a time to celebrate and reflect on the continuity of life.

It is believed that on these days the souls of the dead return to visit the living. Dia de Muertos is celebrated in South American countries and in the United States where there are large Hispanic populations. Tucson holds an annual event.

The origin of Dia de Muertos dates back before the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The indigenous people of Mexico including the cultures of the Toltecs, Maya, Mexicas, Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec all participated in similar rituals and celebrations presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead).

It is believed the origin of the holiday may have been over 3,000 years ago beginning with the Olmec people. After the Spanish conquest, there was a strong effort to convert the natives to Catholicism.

The indigenous people were reluctant to accept the new religion resulting in a blending of old customs with the new religion.

On Nov. 2, 2012, my wife and I were lucky enough to be in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Sonora Mexico and were able to join in on the local Dia de Muertos celebration.

A large group of townspeople celebrated the holiday with music, food and dance. There was also a contest to see which artist could build the best altar honoring those that have passed on.

An altar of the dead is a key element of the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead. A platform is built and decorated in honor of a deceased relative or even a favorite person from history, the arts, entertainers, etc.

In Rocky Point, altars were built for Pancho Villa, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the Railroad Workers of Mexico and even a Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

The platform is decorated with colored paper, flowers with marigolds being traditional, sweets, favorite foods or drink of the deceased. Pan de Muerto (the bread of the dead) is sweet bread specifically made for Day of the Dead.

The top of the bread is decorated to look like bones. Skulls and skeletal figures symbolically represent the dead playfully mimicking the living. Personal items related to the deceased and photos are added as well as religious items including crosses and rosaries, candles, sugar skulls, favorite music, tobacco, tequila and anything that could be identified with the deceased.

The traditional incense copal was also burned as an offering. There are many other traditions that go along with the holiday and symbolism that is involved in making the altars that are not mentioned here.

We also joined a procession from the cultural center to the port docks, which were a few hundred yards away. The people walked in a large group, many of them carrying flowers, torches and lighted candles. A small brass band and two women carrying a flower wreath led the procession to the waters edge.

There people placed the wreath, floating candles and flowers on the water as an offering to those fishermen and sailors that had lost their lives at sea. The procession then returned to the center where everyone enjoyed the music, food, and danced into the night.

An elderly man told my wife through a translator that he had been a fisherman in Puerto Penasco for 45 years. He had lost a brother at sea and knew others who had perished in storms and boat accidents in the ocean.

He told her that because these men’s bodies were never found, family and friends had no graves to visit and decorate, so the offerings were made to the Sea of Cortez where their bodies lie.

To comment on this article and others  visit the Copper Area News Facebook or send us an email at CBNSun@MinerSunBasin.com 

admin (7654 Posts)


Comments are closed.

  • Stories Just Posted

    Jr. Panthers Expect Turnaround Season

    12 hours ago
    by

    The Jr. Panthers’ football team was winless in 2013. Head coach Manuel Ortega knows his team has the discipline and […]


    Panthers 2014 Varsity Football Schedule

    12 hours ago
    by

    With the 2014 football season quickly approaching, we are proud to announce the Superior Sun will provide game coverage each […]


    Hambly announces Students of the Week

    August 19th, 2014
    by

    Leonor Hambly K-8 School has announced its Students of the Week for the week of Aug.


    Gila Board of Supervisors approve tax rates; ASARCO devalues Hayden property

    August 19th, 2014
    by

    The Gila County Board of Supervisors met on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, to approve the tax rates for the entire county. This is an annual function of the Board; the procedure is required by state law and allows the County Treasurer to accept and disburse the property taxes collected.


  • Stories Just For You

    DPS Encourages all Motorists to Drive Courteously This Holiday Season

    December 23rd, 2013
    by

    Arizona – The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), through its Highway Patrol Division, encourages all travelers to drive with […]


    Arvel Bird At the Arboretum New Year’s Day Concert at noon

    December 19th, 2013
    by

    Here’s a resolution you’ll find easy to keep: spend New Year’s Day outdoors at one of Arizona’s most scenic venues, […]


    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction visited San Carlos Secondary School

    December 2nd, 2013
    by

    John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction visited San Carlos Secondary School, one of the Cobre Valley Institute of Technology’s […]


    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 28th, 2013
    by

    Copper Area News would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! Please remember to drive safely this holiday weekend. For […]


  • Facebook

  • [Advertisement.]
  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather

  • Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin