Family Festival: Dia de los Muertos
October 27 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Join The Grace Museum and other downtown partners at this year’s Día de los Muertos Family Festival!
A FREE EVENT for the Abilene Community
Folklorico Dancers | Community Offrenda | Snacks | Crafts | Activities for all ages
HOLIDAY HISTORY & TRADITIONS
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an ancient celebration observed throughout Mexico, as well as in Central American, South American and European regions. During the holiday, people remember and honor ancestors and deceased loved ones. Indigenous observance of the days of the dead in the Americas pre-dates the arrival of the Spanish. In order to absorb indigenous communities and traditions into Catholicism, the Spanish blended indigenous observances, such as the festival honoring Mictecacihuatl (lady of the dead), with the Catholic holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day.
Today, this important holiday is observed annually on November first and second. Families often set up offerings or altars called ofrendas, either at home or at the cemetery. The altars include images of the deceased person as well as their favorite objects, foods, and treats. Some ofrendas are also decorated with marigolds and calaveras made of papier mâché. Families come together to feast on traditional foods such as pan de muerto, mole, or pozole, and friends exchange sugar calaveras. Families and friends play or sing songs, exchange memories, and pass on familial history to younger generations.
Many people believe that the spirits of the dead return to the home during Día de los Muertos and vigils are often held late into the night in order to welcome the spirits. Although it falls at the same time as Halloween, Día de los Muertos does not include symbols such as witches, black cats, or pumpkins. Both holidays share common symbolism with the presence of skeleton imagery, meant to remind us of our mortality. However, due to the indigenous legacy of Día de los Muertos, specifically those of the Aztecs, the skull symbol takes on more of a cultural or ancestral meaning.
While Halloween is associated with dressing up and trick-or-treating, Día de los Muertos is meant to memorialize loved ones. (SOURCE: Museum of Latin American Art)