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Photo by: Sydney Rose

Dia de los Muertos has been celebrated for years. There is more to the holiday than just the seasonal store decor sold at your local Target. Through the beautiful yellow and orange marigolds as well as the colorfully designed skulls, the history of the Day of the Dead runs deep.

Widely celebrated from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 in the Mexican area and cultural heritage, Dia de los Muertos is a tradition to keep and remember the deceased loved ones of many near. It is the one time a year the souls of deceased relatives reunite with their living loved ones.

The Day of the Dead began about three thousand years ago in the culture of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In Aztec and Nahua beliefs, death was a sacred part of the circle of life. These beliefs translate into the current day ofrendas or altars where people leave personable items specific to their deceased loved ones on the graves. Photographs, food and toys or jewelry characterize these sacred altars.

Ofrendas are often made in homes as well. It commemorates and helps the deceased loved ones find their way back to the living. Ofrendas can be found among the abundance of rich Mexican culture in the Houston area at local Mexican restaurants or shops during this season.

This holiday has been integrated into the current-day Mexican culture. With parades in bigger cities such as Mexico City or Guanajuato, the tradition has become a beautiful celebration.

Spreading Mexican culture in the United States is seen in movies such as Disney’s 2016 “Coco.” The holiday has become known as something more than just a “Mexican Halloween.” 

Graveyard parties run throughout the two-day celebration. An insurmountable amount of marigolds signify the jubilant energy, and candles are lit to provide a warm welcome to the deceased. Heartfelt prayers and music are played as a sense of joy is reached among the unison of reminiscence.

Specifically in the Houston area, there are many ways to partake in the activities of the Day of the Dead.

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center will be holding a candlelight concert in celebration on Nov.1.

The annual Dia de los Muertos Houston parade will be held on Nov. 4 at Sam Houston Park. The Houston’s Children’s Museum is hosting a Dia de los Muertos week until Nov. 5. The Karbach Brewery will also be hosting a market for Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 5.

Surrounded by skull face paint, flower embroidered huipils and traditional Mexican meals, there is an immense reverence for the lives of deceased loved ones.

Dia de los Muertos is meant to honor the lives of those who have come before us. Igniting and inducing a spirit of honor and true respect for the loved ones people have lost, the Day of the Dead is a celebration to remind people how important it is to never forget.

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