Dia de los Muertos on November 1st and 2nd, is a holiday celebrated all over the world, especially in Mexico. In America, it is also celebrated in the Southwest and the colorful displays of altars, food, and decorations exemplify the culture and traditions of its origins. Cemeteries are decorated and celebrants stay overnight in vigil, honoring those who have gone beyond the veil. Steets, too, are lined with flowers, music, storytelling, and dancing.
Even if you cannot attend some of the larger Day of the Dead events, there are ways you can observe the holiday in your own way, while being respectful of tradition. Here are some suggestions for honoring your departed loved ones on Dia de los Muertos.
5 Ways to Observe Dia de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead, while sounding ominous, is a day for festivities. After the grief, memories can arise that bring joy, laughter, and solace through sharing those memories with friends and family. Here are some simple ways to revere the tradition of the Day of the Dead and remember your departed loved ones this year.
- Share stories with loved ones – One of the time honored traditions of most cultures is to share stories and pass down family history through oral tradition. Invite your relatives over and include the children. The older members of the family can be the first to share and recollect some of their stories of growing up, as well as talk about those no longer among us. Create videos or audios of these stories for future generations, or write letters to be read aloud and kept in an archival box.
- Create a space in the home dedicated to the departed – If a traditional altar, or ofrenda, is not a part of your culture, you can create a space in the home reserved for memories of former loved ones. You can use a shelf, bookcase, or special display and place things that remind you of them, like flowers, pictures, art, favorite items, etc.
- A colorful autumn garden can be a wonderful memorial – A big part of Dia de los Muertos are the colorful displays of marigolds. Bushels of marigolds, sunflowers, and other orange and yellow foliage can be placed in a section of the yard with luminarias. By adding memorial stepping stones or an outdoor memorial candle, you can honor your family members among the beauty. You can also choose to plant a tree or favorite flower that reminds you of your loved one.
- Get to know your roots – Get together with your family and investigate your ancestry. There are many resources online and you can start your own family tree project using these tools. DNA testing is a popular way to explore your family’s roots. Look for recipes and projects that showcase your countries of origin and discuss the fascinating diversity of your family with your children.
- Host a remembrance party – A festive gathering with family and friends is another good way to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. A big pot of chili, an array of pumpkin desserts, some spicy jalapeno cornbread, and other tasty foods will be well received. Show off all of your favorite photos and home movies of loved ones now passed. The season is perfect for honoring the turning of the year into fall, and reflecting on all of the good we have in our lives to be thankful for.
Miller Funeral Services and Cremation Society of Texas wishes you a wonderful Day of the Dead. If you have any questions about the traditional holiday of Dia de los Muertos, or would lr would like to speak to one of our staff members, please do not hesitate to call us.