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What is Dia De Muertos (Day of The Dead) & How Do You Celebrate it?

You have definitely heard of Halloween, but what about Dia de Muertos? Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead in English, is a Mexican holiday celebrated from October 31 to November 4. Even though the holiday is celebrated during the same time as Halloween, it is different. Keep reading to learn what Dia de Muertos is and how you celebrate it.

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Dia de Muertos is a Mexican holiday dedicated to the dead. This may sound scary to Americans, but Mexicans use this holiday as a time to remember and celebrate their deceased loved ones. Mexicans visit the graves of their passed-on loved ones and bring gifts. These gifts are presented through altars at the loved one’s burial site. Altars commonly feature bright-colored cloth, paper flags, photos of the deceased, the favorite foods of the deceased, and the favorite items of the deceased. These beautiful and personalized altars are just part of the traditions of the holiday.

In addition to decorating the altars with decor and gifts, pan de Muerto is prepared for the holiday. This Mexican bread is placed on the altar alongside other food items like tequila, wine, beer, water, seasonal fruit, rice, tamales, mole, hot chocolate, and even a bowl of salt that is considered a symbol of purification and preservation of the soul of the deceased. Sugar skulls are a popular symbol for Dia de Muertos and are additionally used as a gift for the deceased.

Family members clean up the graves of their loved ones and present flowers and offerings to pay their respects. Many also dress up like catrins and catrinas. These elegantly dressed skeletons have origins from the 1900s. Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator, and lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada created a now famous etching that he titled La Calavera Catrina or Catrina Ljazmun a Calavera Garbancera. While the work was originally intended to be a political commentary, it grew in popularity and eventually became the inspiration behind Dia de Muertos costumes and decorations.

If you can’t make it to Mexico for Dia de Muertos, you can celebrate the holiday at home with some Mexican cuisine. At Jalisco Mexican Grill, we serve up delicious Mexican food including tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and more. We are located at 8389 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida and you can schedule your Dia de Muertos reservation by giving us a call at 941-217-4536.

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