Day of the Dead - A Brief History

We’re excited to release our limited edition “Day of the Dead” dog collars and bead bracelets. Here’s a little primer on what this day is all about.

A Brief History

The Day of the Dead, is an annual Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1 and 2, in particular in the South and Central regions, and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. Also called “Dia de los Muertos”, the origins can be traced back hundreds of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”. 

The holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and helping to support their spiritual journey but also to encourage them to visit the land of the living during these two days. 

No, It's Not "Mexican Halloween"

Some still think of the Day of the Dead as sort of Mexican Halloween, and though they share some common roots, and some do celebrate the two holidays together, they are different. For one, Day of the Dead celebrates communing with the souls of the dead, while Halloween is all about being afraid of the dead.

Some cultures may view this celebration of the dead as somewhat macabre, but In Mexican culture death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle, like a new beginning, a reason for celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them. Some people go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build alters containing their favorite foods, photos and other memoribilia of the departed, while others build private alters in their homes.The alters are sometimes decorated with Mexican marigold flowers and candles, as well as the now ubiquitous skull iconography.  Along with prayers and praise from the living, all of this is to inspire the departed souls to visit.

Sometimes these celebrations can be humurous as the living remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. Friends and family might leave some tequila, mescal, cigarettes, even football jerseys, and favorite candies are left on graves. Tamales are also a popular dish for sharing.

Day of the Dead Parade

In the James Bond film “Spectre”, the opening sequence features a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, which prior to the film had never had such a parade. However, interest grew due to the film the governement  decided to organize an “Dia de Muertos” parade through the historical district which attracted hundreds of thousands of attendees.

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