Day of the Dead: The Travel Mom is Live from San Miguel de Allende on Good Morning Arizona

Today is Dia De Los Muertos and I am grateful to be spending it in San Miguel de Allende.  

It’s such a delight to be able to share this wonderful experience on Good Morning Arizona. 

When you’re ready to travel, I really encourage you visit San Miguel de Allende, as they host one of the most celebrated Day of the Dead Festivals in all of Mexico! 

Day of the Dead is an Aztec spiritual holiday that is celebrated every year from October 31 to November 2. It is believed that the deceased awake from their eternal resting place and speak with their loved ones giving everyone the chance to reconnect. 

Alters are built to honor the deceased and families cook all of their loved one’s favorite foods for a celebratory feast. Ornate Mexican cemeteries are always a fun stroll, but there is no better time to visit than while graves and headstones are adorned with marigolds and decorations in honor of Día de los Muertos.

Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. … Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life and death. While the holiday originated in Mexico, it is celebrated all over Latin America with colorful calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons).

Plans for the day are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the three-day period families usually clean and decorate graves and most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (altars), which often include orange Mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) called cempasúchil (originally named cempōhualxōchitl, Nāhuatl for ‘twenty flowers’).

 In modern Mexico the marigold is sometimes called Flor de Muerto (‘Flower of Dead’). These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. It is also believed the bright petals with a strong scent can guide the souls from cemeteries to their family homes.

Toys are brought for dead children (los angelitos, or ‘the little angels’), and bottles of tequila, mezcal or pulque or jars of atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased’s favorite candies on the grave. 

Some families have ofrendas in homes, usually with foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto (‘bread of dead’), and sugar skulls; and beverages such as atole. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased. Some people believe the spirits of the dead eat the “spiritual essence” of the ofrendas’ food, so though the celebrators eat the food after the festivities, they believe it lacks nutritional value. Pillows and blankets are left out so the deceased can rest after their long journey. 

A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (in Spanish calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for skeleton), and foods such as sugar or chocolate skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. Sugar skulls can be given as gifts to both the living and the dead. Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread made in various shapes from plain rounds to skulls, often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.

Have you attended a Day of the Dead weekend?

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