During Halloween, death is something to be feared, but during Dia de Los Muertos, it's something to be celebrated.
Christina Montoya Fiedler: Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a time to remember those who have passed and to celebrate their lives. It's a happy holiday that might not be as macabre as it seems. The holiday dates back to more than 500 years ago. At that time, the Spanish conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, and they saw native peoples performing rituals that seemed to mock death. After the Aztecs were conquered by Spain and Catholicism became the dominant religion, the customs became intertwined with the Christian commemoration of All Saints' Day on Nov. 1.
For the indigenous people of Mexico, there was no separation between life and death. You were in the afterlife what you were in real life. And Dia de los Muertos, as it has come to be called, celebrated the people we loved who had moved on to the afterlife.
If you're interested in the holiday, here's how you can take part:
To honor those that have passed, or anyone who has touched our lives, "altars" are built, often on a small table covered with a brightly colored tablecloth. And on that altar, all items that were important to that person in life are placed carefully amongst photos and candles, to remember that person as they were in the flesh.
Bake Pan de Muerto:
This sugary sweet bread is a popular Dia de los Muertos treat consumed by all participating in the festivities. It's often placed on the altars as well. The Pan de Muerto is shaped into a large loaf, and extra dough is fashioned into "bones." The bread is baked, glazed, and decorated with colored sugar.
|Christina Montoya Fiedler resides in Los Angeles, CA, with husband Andy and her son Joseph. She juggles baby and work from home as a freelance publicist and attributes her strong love for life and sense of humor to her loving familia.|