Day of the Dead, Día de Muertos

Day of the Dead dancersDay of the Dead, Día de Muertos, is celebrated in Mexico and throughout Latin America around All Saints Day; October 31, and November 1 – 2.

Join us for the Library’s Celebration of Day of the Dead on Saturday, October 27, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm.  Activities include:

  • 10:30 am – Movie showing: The Book of Life in English
  • 12-4 pm – Decorate sugar skulls and make Catrina headbands
  • 12–2 pm – Calavera-themed face painting
  • 1 pm – Ballet Folklórico performance
  • 1:30 pm – Catrina Contest. Parade your best Catrina  for all to see! We’ll have prizes for best costumes.
  • 2:30 pm – Movie showing: The Book of Life in Spanish
  • Altars made by Lafayette community members will be on display all day throughout the library; the exhibit continues through November 9. Find out more on the significance of Día de Muertos altars, and read on for more background on the holiday.

Día de Muertos originated with the Aztecs, but with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores the practice came to be mixed with Christianity; over time the celebration has made its way to the Unites States.

Día de Muertos has evolved, and now features representations of sugar skulls and catrinas, as a way to show a sense of lightness and humor towards death, and it continues to be a way to honor loved ones who have passed away.

In Mexico families spend Día de Muertos cleaning the gravestones of their loved ones and decorating the cemetery with marigolds; it is believed that the smell of the flowers helps the souls of those who have passed find their way back to earth.

Along with visiting the cemetery, families build altars with pictures of their loved ones; they bring the food and drinks that were enjoyed in life, and display other mementos that honor the person’s memory. The ritual and symbolism of visiting the cemetery and building altars is believed to help normalize death and lessen the fear of death.

Día de Muertos gives families a way to celebrate their loved one’s life and pass down memories of that family member with younger generations.