Ji Teak Kim/Bonita Vista Senior High School 11 th Grade
When it’s time for the U.S. to get busy preparing for the scariest Halloween celebration, its neighboring country Mexico gets equally as busy, working extremely hard to have the brightest yet the most exotic Halloween-like, traditional celebration of its own. Called El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), this Mexican festival is a memorial day for the dead, and it is celebrated on the 31st of October. But in some regions of Mexico, the celebration begins on the 1st or 2nd of November.
When we come to illustrate various connotations of death, we usually imagine melancholy and remorse over the lost ones, which are the shared feelings at any funeral: an event filled with dark-toned colors and with grave somberness. However, this generalized perception of death is completely contradicted by Mexican way of remembering the ones who have left us.
With the celebration of El Dia de los Muertos, Mexico embodies bright colors, vivid music with great allegory, and big smiles to happily cherish every moment of the celebration. No one in the festivities will ever encounter a speck of sorrow. Although this fact may seem very quizzical, Mexico has valid explanation: Mexicans believe that if the living friends and families remember and celebrate the deceased with joy, the deceased will get an opportunity to live in an eternally jubilant afterlife. Alternatively, if the friends and families forget to celebrate and remember the deceased, the deceased’s soul will forever remain in an abyss of misery. Therefore, to avoid this intimidating consequence, a lot of Mexicans celebrate El Dia de los Muertos with a huge passion.
Preparation for El Dia de los Muertos is always a very exciting process to watch. In an intimate atmosphere, loved ones come together and spend countless many hours to prepare traditional food such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and dedicate extensive time and effort in making bright and colorful decorations called the ofrendas. In fact, the scale of this celebration is massive as every Mexican citizen wants to make the best possible Dia de los Muertos.
El Dia de los Muertos is a unique and lively event that is joyful to all of the Mexicans, bringing everyone from the past and from the present together, and El Dia de los Muertos will certainly continue to be an honorable and proud Mexican tradition.
<Ji Teak Kim/Bonita Vista Senior High School 11 th Grade