The Traditions of Day of the Dead
Every year, Halloween is a fun celebration for all, with costumes, candy, and spooky stories. However, these traditions are predominantly found in the United States. In other countries, they have a completely different idea of what Halloween is all about. In Mexico, their form of Halloween is Day of the Dead, or Día de Los Muertos. This holiday, unlike Halloween in America, is a celebration of the lives of the deceased. It is celebrated on the first two days of November, instead of the last day of October.
On this day, the families and friends of the deceased create an altar to honor their loved ones. This altar usually has photographs of the deceased and plates of their favorite foods. Marigolds are the traditional flower to decorate the altar. They are believed to entice the dead to the offerings.
The traditional food on Day of the Dead is Pan de Muerto. The custom is to shape the top of the bread into skulls and bones. The bread is sweet and has a buttery texture. If you would like to make it yourself, find the recipe here!
Another tradition on Día de Los Muertos is sugar skulls, which are candy skulls topped with colorful icing. They are generally used for decorative purposes, although they can be consumed as well. Here is the recipe if you want to make them yourselves.
From all these traditions, it is clear that Day of the Dead is meant to be a happy, lighthearted celebration of life, as compared to the dark and morbid nature of Halloween.