While it is true that the Day of the Dead is celebrated on a date that concurs with a Christian holy day, the roots of its customs actually come from Aztec traditions. On the contrary, in Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have died, a day to remember them with fondness and celebration. Please try again. Inside: A summary of the similarities and differences between Halloween and Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is a Mexican traditional holiday honoring ancestors, family members and friends who have passed away. In fact, in many parts of Mexico, the Dead of the Dead is celebrated over 3 days rather than just one. On the Day of the Dead, La Catrina plays a very important role. During the day on November 1st and 2nd, the family gathers to celebrate, remember their loved ones who have passed and share a meal together. It is recorded in scripture as the seventeenth day of the second month. This is celebrated on every 31st of October in a number of cultures which were influenced by Western Christian practices. Here are five ways they are similar- but different! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. They called this festival Samhain. Nowadays, many countries have adopted the practice. Sign up now and you'll get this free game set. The harvest season is in full swing. Copyright © 2019 Families Embracing Diversity | Powered by Astra. These same decorations are used in cemeteries. The Day of the Dead is one of the most iconic and well-known festivities in Mexico. Modern-day celebrations of Halloween reflect elements of all of those days: bonfires, masks, costumes, graveyards, even jack o’ lanterns and trick-or-treating. On the other hand, Halloween is currently less associated with rituals regarding paying respects to those who passed away though its origin is also on remembering saints and martyrs. Halloween is observed on October 31st while Day of the Dead starts on November 1. The main goal is to scream your head off and get a good sugar high. Copyrights © 2020 Sandos Hotels & Resorts. The Catholic Church recognizes Nov. 1 and 2 as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively, and scholars say modern Día de los Muertos observances have indigenous roots with European influences. This was the beginning of Trick or Treat. Day of the Dead is a translation of the Spanish “Dia de Muertos” which is a widely known Mexican Holiday. It was also meant to remember the departed and they used masks and costumes like what is done today. It was believed to be the day when the veil between the dead and the living was at its thinnest. – History.com. Day of the Dead is more associated with spirituality as prayers with incense are ritually offered. Notably, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially included this tradition in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. Check out the videos below to learn a little more! A lot of people confuse these traditions, thinking they're basically the same holiday by two different names, and that couldn't be further from the truth. According to Business Insider, the holiday was originally linked to the Celtic pagan celebration of Samhain, which was believed to be a point in time when the veil between worlds was at its thinnest, giving spirits an easier time traveling into the Earthly realm. They’re not quite the same, though: Halloween is celebrated on one day, October 31. People may dress up as well, painting their faces as calaveras (skulls) for parades or celebrations, and you can find sugar skulls or calaveras as part of altars too. Moreover, the Catholic church sought to unite the pagan practice with the Christian belief. It’s interesting to note that whereas Halloween decorations bring tombs and and graveyards into our homes as decorations, for Day of the Dead, people go out into the cemeteries to bring things that symbolize life: flowers, food and music. Analogous to Mictecachihuatl, La Calavera Catrina, also known as Catrina La Calavera Garbancera is the referential death icon in Mexico. Day of the Dead stretches back about 3,000 years, to the Aztecs, Toltecs, and other groups across Mesoamerica. This gives the family time to reminisce and honor those who are no longer living. Just as many families or religions do not celebrate Halloween in the United States, there are families in Mexico and other countries who opt out of Día de Muertos or celebrate in a different way. Your email address will not be published. Nowadays, Halloween is more connected with fancy costumes and themed parties. Halloween as Celtic and Gaelic roots while Day of the Dead has an Aztec origin. Day of the Dead is a three-day party. It is a mixture of the Catholic All Saints and All Souls Day and the ancient Aztec and Nahua traditions. They also make small altars with the dead person’s photograph and they offer food, favorite things, prayers, and incense. Jack o’ Lanterns, witches, ghosts, vampires, and other similar creatures, Nowadays, departed loved ones are not that emphasized, Aztec festival for the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead). Día de Muertos  is mainly observed over two or three days: The similarity in dates can be traced back to ancient Catholic traditions that were mixed in with indigenous practices. Where Halloween uses death as a fearful element to its festivities, the Day of the Dead is about celebrating the memories of lost loved ones and, essentially, laughing at our own mortality. It’s usually a night to watch horror movie marathons for the same purpose. La Catrina, the image you see above, is based upon the Aztec goddess of death. The main culture associated with Halloween is European which later spread to America due to the influx of Irish immigrants during the Great Famine in 1845 to 1849. Halloween and day of the dead certainly have more than several similarities such as costumes, decorations, the tradition of honoring the dead, and a festive mood. All Rights Reserved. Rather than 3 days, the festival lasted the whole month. One major similarity between Halloween and Day of the Dead is that both include elaborate decorations, visuals, and costumes. Where Halloween uses death as a fearful element to its festivities, the Day of the Dead is about celebrating the memories of lost loved ones and, essentially, laughing at our own mortality. gene Brown. Modern celebrations of Halloween almost seem to poke fun at what scares us: darkness, death, witches and ghosts. See Our Select Club Adults Only Areas at Sandos! The Day of the Dead, the Hungry Ghost Festival, and Halloween. Poor people would go to wealthier homes to receive “soul cakes” and promised to pray for the souls of the deceased. The idea is to turn a mournful experience into a happy one. According to the History Channel, Halloween began with a Celtic festival, Samhain. Although dwindling in number, there are still many Americans who have never heard of Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead). Sweets become a staple as tons of candy corn fills the world's trashcans. Halloween is a one-day shindig that really just focuses on a few hours of trick or treating at dusk. Thank you for your time. In Scotland and Ireland, young people began dressing up in costumes and offering songs or jokes, instead of prayers, to receive a treat. Mictecacihuatl was believed to be sacrificed as an infant. This was known as a very important festival on October 31 to November 1 which was observed in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

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