The True Meaning of “Dia De Los Muertos”

There is a common misconception that Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is just a Mexican version of Halloween. The truth is that the two holidays have very different meanings, traditions, and overall tones. Let’s take a look at the true meaning of Dia De Los Muertos.

The True Meaning of “Dia De Los Muertos”

Rather than being a Mexican version of Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life, love, and family. It is a holiday that is observed all over Latin America. Originally, Day of the Dead was a day to mourn and pay respects to loved ones. Over time, it became a holiday centered on celebration.

The celebration spans two days and is focused on demonstrating respect and love for family members who have passed away. In celebration, revelers dress up in colorful costumes and makeup, hold parties, sing and dance, and present offerings to their departed loved ones. There is also generally a feast including traditional dishes.

Day of the Dead Acknowledgement, Recognition, and Celebration

UNESCO now recognizes Day of the Dead, and many cities around the world honor the event. In fact, this year Los Angeles is home to the 19th annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival, which features costumes, dancing, traditional Mexican food, arts and crafts, and more.

Retailers are also acknowledging and supporting Day of the Dead, which is important given that Latinos in the U.S. make up about 18 percent of the population. A few examples include:

  • Target – Offering a Day of the Dead collection online and in stores
  • Swarovski-owned Chamilia launched a sugar skull enamel charm for jewelry
  • Los Angeles candy brand Treat Street has added a skull candy dispenser
  • Pyrex now offers Day of the Dead Mariachi food storage options