Día de los Muertos: celebrating the lives of loved ones

Naomi Lopez

Death is not always seen as the end. Día de los Muertos is a significant part of Mexican culture in which rather than mourning the lives of those lost, their lives are celebrated and remembered.

There are tons of festivities that surround Día de los Muertos, but everyone remembers their lost loved ones in many different ways. 

“My family makes an altar each year,” said senior Melanie Garcia. “We celebrate the life of my grandpa, and a few pets that have passed away over the years.” 

 “We sprinkle cempasuchil flowers and light candles on our altars. It’s a tradition in our culture, and we want to preserve it even over here in the USA,” said Garcia.

Day of the Dead is well known by many people across the world, as it has spread all over the nation and has been adapted in different environments. There are many small parts of properly honoring deceased family members in Mexican culture, which include the incorporation of cempasuchil flowers and candles that Garcia mentioned. These attributes are used in order to guide the spirits of your lost family members home, so that they may visit on this special day.

“We celebrate the lives of my grandparents and my Títa,” said senior Magdalena Solorio. “We’ll go to the cemetery sometimes to clean up my grandparents and my Títa’s headstones.”

“We usually don’t do anything, but my mom and I have been meaning to make an ofrenda for my grandparents. Other than our altar, we like to watch Coco or the Book of Life, which are popular Day of the Dead movies,” said Solorio. 

In the USA, there have been movies and festivities that take place in order to celebrate. These movie adaptations allow others from other cultures to celebrate the day alongside others, or to at least be educated on Día de los Muertos and what it represents. However, there are also many festivities that take place during this time of year.

“I have gone to the Noche de Altares in Santa Ana before but not this year,” said makeup artist Belinda Garcia. “I have done makeup. Usually I do the calaca skeleton, it’s super colorful and very fun to do. The calaca skeletons represent the beauty of our dead ancestors.”

Día de los Muertos is a day of beauty and remembrance, a day to celebrate the lives of those lost and to honor their memory. Many people have deep connections with this day and use it to bask in the lovely memories of those they have lost. Day of the Dead is deeply rooted into Mexican culture and will continue to be for a long, long time.

 “We will always miss them, and although they are gone, it’s important to keep their memory alive when they cannot be,” said Garcia.