Halloween is not the only creepy death-related festival celebrated in October. “Día de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” is a three-day celebration that is honored mainly by Mexican people. As years go by, it has gained popularity, and now several people all over the world gather together to pray and remember the beloved ones who have died.
“Día de Los Muertos” is celebrated at the end of October and beginning of November. UNESCO recognized it as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. It usually begins on October 31, including the Catholic holiday of “All Saints’ Day” on November 1 and “All Souls’ Day” on November 2.
Mexico: Día de Los Muertos
Known as a Mexican holiday, “Día de los Muertos” is one of the most colorful festivals. Mariachis, candied skulls, traditional costumes and macabre sceneries are often associated to how the dead ones are praised in Mexico.
Though most of the people who celebrate the dates are Catholic, “Día de los Muertos” is not directly affiliated with any religion. It started in the 16th century, even before European colonization. Back then, the celebrations could last even two months.
Europe: All Saints’ and All Souls’ days
In Europe, there are different celebrations to praise and remember the dead ones. In Spain, people visit the graves of their loved ones and make altars for them. In Italy, “Day of the Dead” is celebrated on October 31 as a religious occasion. They go to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of their relatives and friends with flowers. In Sicilia, the day is a lot like Christmas, since kids wake up to receive little presents “from the dead” if they behave well.
Bolivia: Día de las Ñatitas
Most countries of Latin America follow Mexico’s traditions regarding the celebrations for the Day of the Dead. But in Bolivia this celebration has a twist, as they celebrate “Día de las Ñatitas” or “Day of the Skulls,” which is why they use skulls during such events, and no, they are not made of candy, plastic or other material, they are real human skulls.
Philippines: The Novena
The Philippines, a former colony of Spain, celebrates these days in a similar way. They attend to mass and “Novena,” to offer prayers to a particular dead relative or friend. The families also go to cemeteries and decorate the graves. Sometimes they also eat and drink around the grave. According to the beliefs, the souls of the dead ones return to the Earth during these moments, so their living family makes them feel as comfortable and welcomed as possible.
Source: International Business Times