Day of the dead

Natalia Plascenica

 When most people think of day of the dead the first thing that comes to mind is skulls and bright colors. However there’s a lot more to it then meets the eye. Many people of Latin America take this day to remember loved ones that have passed, myself included. It is celebrated from the first to the second of November. Day of the dead originated in Mexico, but as stated earlier, anyone can celebrate it. The purpose of this beautiful holiday is to invite and welcome lost loved ones to make a special visit from the afterlife. The way that this is done takes a lot of thought and time to get everything just right. People often will put up an ofrenda, this stands for offering in English. An ofrenda is an altar that usually consists of photos of the deceased and offerings such as water, candles, food which is most commonly bread, and paper banners. Personally, me and my family have an ofrenda in a special room in our house. It is up all year and we usually go in there when we miss our loved ones and to remember them. There is a sense of comfort in sitting in that room. Ofrendas come in all different shapes and sizes. Some ofrendas may contain multiple peoples images and others may contain just one person’s image. If you take a look at an ofrenda, you will probably see orange flower petals. These flower petals are from a flower named Marigold but it is also called “flowers of the dead”. It is called this because it is said to attract spirits. If you’ve seen coco you probably have an idea of how the spirits visit. The marigolds guide the spirits to their ofrendas so they can enjoy the offering left out for them. They are able enjoy some of their favorite sweet breads and drinks. The spirits can also watch the parades that take place on day of the dead and enjoy the company of their loved ones. People even wear special costumes and do their makeup to look like skeletons. Day of the dead is a celebration of both life and death. You will be able to see people celebrating and embracing death everywhere you go. From early morning to late at night beautiful traditions are taking place. Some of these traditions include telling tales of the people who have passed and doing special dances. Prayers are often said at the ofrendas of said loved ones. Flowers, including the marigold mentioned earlier, are also offered to the spirits. Although day of the dead is a celebration, it is also a time to openly mourn the loss of loved ones. Generations of families gather together for this celebration. Even if you’re not a part of the culture it is still a beautiful thing to learn about and see. Next time you feel down try and take the time to think about your loved ones whether alive or dead and remember that life and death are both things to celebrate!