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Feliz Día de los Muertos

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Halloween is right around the corner — and so is Día de los Muertos. Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, coinciding with All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day, and a flashy holiday to say the least. During this time, people assemble ornate altars with gifts for the dead, including sweet bread, flowers and candles, decorate sugar skulls, make papel picado and gather in the streets and cemeteries to remember the dead. Guatemalans create large, elaborate kites and prepare fiambre, a super-stuffed salad that “can contain anything from baby corn to beef tongue” because, “who knows what the dead want?”

And of course Latino communities in the U.S. refuse to be left behind in the festivities. College campuses across the country are gearing up for Day of the Dead celebrations. Cities, from Oakland, California to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have planned events, which include art exhibitions, parades and Halloween-esque haunted houses.

Día de los Muertos may be one of the more attractive traditions to incorporate into mainstream American culture. The latest episode of the NBC drama “Grimm” focused on the legend of La Llorona, but also featured the holiday. Many people conflate Halloween and Day of the Dead, painting their faces into sugar skull designs as part of their costume. Let’s welcome the fact that diverse people are interested in the celebration, but while we are enjoying the festivities let’s remind people of the true significance of the holiday.

It is a deeply spiritual and symbolic holiday, a time to celebrate the lives of the departed, relive memories and remember that death is a part of life — but it doesn’t have to be scary.

Y con eso, ¡un feliz día de los muertos para todos!

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. aww my Babygirl

  2. <3

  3. This racist pig Mario Ramirez is a sandwich short of a picnic. Get some help.

  4. While all Latin cultures might have a variation of All Saints Day and All Souls Day traditions they do not celebrate it like the one you are detailing which is mostly comprised of Mexican, Catholic, and Amerindian traditions as well as the Guatemalan variation. It looks different in every nation including Spain and the Philippines, and in most places it’s not observed with the zeal and color of the Mexican or Central American one. While we might have some things in common – our ancestors are not the same and it’s kind of sneaky to confuse the non Latino population by making them believe that all Spanish sur-named people celebrate a cool colorful holiday with skeletons wearing sombreros. They do not. You guys get all upset when ignorant “Anglos” and non “Latinos” think that the cornucopia that encompasses all of Hispanic and Latino culture is relegated to either Mexico with Tacos, illegals, and gangbangers or Puerto Rico with 24/7 people dancing salsa and drinking rum, well, you are doing something similar by making All Saints Day and All Souls Day Mexicanized.

  5. Whether it was because you are trying to put forward some type of pan-Latino agenda, or because of space limitations in the articles, or out of ignorance, whatever the reason – next time just don’t make it sound like the one holiday everyone has come to know about is celebrated exactly the same way, visually and custom wise, by all of us. Give at least some examples of how varied All Saints Day and All Souls Day can be in the Latino and Hispanic world. Do the same for Christmas – we don’t all have a Reyes Mago parade in El Barrio no matter how fun and happy that might be.

  6. What is fair is fair.

  7. What the hell are you talking about. You have to much time on your hands Ramirez.

  8. Well, el Dia de Los Muertos is not celebrated by all Latinos and BL is making it out to look like we all do and it looks like the Mexican version. That’s what the hell I am speaking about. Read the article and tell me if it encompasses all Latin cultures and if it shows the pictures of how it looks in all the Latin cultures – not just the Mexican one everyone knows about. BL is pigeonholing Latinos again in some kind of one size fits all Latino-landia theme park.

  9. I read the article it never makes a blanket statement encompassing “all” latin communities.

  10. Hi Mario. I agree that there are several variations of the holiday and that I did focus on the Mexican and Guatemalan celebrations, probably because I myself an Guatemalan. However, I don’t believe I ever mentioned that all Latinos celebrate the holiday, much less celebrate it in the same way.
    I am not sure what you consider your cultural background, but I would urge you to submit a piece about it, especially as it relates to Dia de los Muertos! BL tries to encompass as many perspectives as possible. We very much welcome and encourage guest contributors, so you should really consider it if you feel we are lacking in our portrayal of certain cultures. Thanks for your comment, I will keep it in mind for future articles while trying to work within the space limitations you mentioned.

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