Good news Halloween fans. You can actually keep the parties going two days longer next week. Traditional Día de los Muertos celebrations are popping up more and more in the U.S., which means the dancing skeletons, wild costumes, and yummy treats will continue through November 2!
For anyone unfamiliar, Dia de los Muertos (or “Day of the Dead” as it’s also known) falls on the first two days of November and is meant to honor those who have passed on. Its origins can be traced back to the Aztecs, who would create makeshift altars to attract the spirits of their lost loved ones.
Throughout the centuries, symbols like flowers, incense, and the famous “sugar skull” have been used to build the homemade shrines. As the legend goes,November 1 would mark El Día de los Inocentes for the departed children’s souls and November 2 would be El Día de los Difuntos, accounting for everyone else.
Though its roots are in Mexico, Día de los Muertos has extended throughout Latin America. Countries like Guatemala, Ecuador, and Brazil organize huge festivals and prayer services to mark the occasion.
And even more interesting is the boom that Muertos has been experiencing in the U.S. States like California, New Mexico, and Texas have seen its popularity grow to rival that of Halloween! In Houston, for example, there is now a “Day of the Dead Rock Star” event, where party goers dress up like their favorite deceased music celebs. Tupac Shakur, Johnny Cash, and “El Marvin Gaye” have become popular staples of the celebration.
“It’s everywhere now,” said Carlos Hernandez, who launched the ” Rock Stars” event. “You can even get Dia de los Muertos stuff at Wal-Mart!”
Over in Albuquerque, the holiday is getting an “artistic” touch. The city’sNational Hispanic Cultural Center is hosting a “Dia de los Muertos Community Gathering,” which features some of the most famous Day of the Dead art from around the world. There will also be recreations of traditional altars and lectures on Muertos’ religious origins.
And in L.A., the holiday is getting a star-studded touch. Of course none of the celebrities attending the event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary will be alive, but they’ll be “present” nevertheless. Legends like Rudolph Valentino andDouglas Fairbanks have made Forever their final resting place and, for one night only, their graves entire will be transformed into traditional Dia de los Muertos altars. There will also be live music, moonlight ghost stories, and tons of delicious Mexican food.
We highly recommend looking up the local Muertos events in your area. They’re fun, they’re educational, and they can let you live out your Halloween festivities for just a wee bit longer.
By Michael Lopez