Long before we started decorating with skeletons and ghosts for Halloween, some 2,500 years ago, the indigenous people of Mesoamerica celebrated their dead with a month- long festival. But this holiday is warm rather than spooky. In honor of the Lady of the Dead Goddess Mictecacihuatl, they held feasts for the dead. And after the Spaniards brought Catholicism, the holiday combined with All Saints and All Souls Days to become Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.
Traditionally, Dia de Muertos has served as a symbol for how Mexicans deal with death: as a natural part of the life cycle. The ancient holiday is a time for families to celebrate the lives of their departed loved ones. At its center is the annual ritual of building ofrendas, or altars, in homes, at cemeteries and other public spaces, which entice the dead to return to the land of the living (just for a couple of days) so that they’re not forgotten.
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Please enjoy this article by: Serena Maria Daniels is the Chingona-in-Chief and founder of online food and culture outlet, Tostada Magazine. She is also a 2018 Feet In 2 Worlds/WDET food journalism fellow. Catch her on Twitter at @serenamaria36 or @tostadamagazine.