Folium: No Bones About It – Day of the Dead Is Finding New Life via WSJ


Folium: No Bones About It – Day of the Dead Is Finding New Life via WSJ

Folium: No Bones About It: Day of the Dead Is Finding New Life

One of the Mexican holidays that I have heard a lot about is the Day of the Dead. I always thought that this holiday was nothing more than the Mexican version of Halloween. This article taught me what the Day of the Dead is all about and why it is growing so much in the United States.

This article explained that “Dia de los Muertos” is a holiday which honors the departed. It combines both Aztec and Christian elements. According to tradition the heavens open and the souls of the dead come back to earth. The living relatives of the dead build altars and offer memorabilia to entice their deceased family members to come down to earth. We hope to have a celebration with food and drink with our dead relatives and have a fiesta. Some people also make altars to pets and fallen stars like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.

Next year the company Pixar Animated Studios, a Walt Disney company, will be releasing an animated movie about Dia de los Muertos. An online outrage developed because the company attempted to trademark the term “Dia de los Muertos.” Walt Disney withdrew the application and said that it did so because it decided to change the title of the film.

Speaking of films on October 17, 2014 “The Book of Life” comes out. This is also an animated film and is Jorge Gutiérrez’s first feature film. The director and animator says that it’s his own take of what happens after death. The film is sent in 1920’s Mexico and is about a brave Maria Posado and her two suitors who come from a long line of bullfighters. Some of the characters are transported to the afterlife which in the animated movie looks like a Mexican fiesta filled with music and bright color. This film is getting rave reviews from critics and the audience.

Day of the Dead can occur on many levels. One can celebrate the day on a personal level or as a family. The holiday can be a community event or just a social gathering amongst a group of friends. Diá de los Muetros expresses the beauty that is the mystery of life and death. For some it is a time for celebrating while others believe it is a time of introspection. I believe it should be celebrated with balance and one should blend these two things into one.

A tradition of the Day in Dead in Mexico is the sugar skull. Sugar Art was brought to the new world by Italian missionaries in the 1600s. Mexico has an abundant amount of sugar and they could not afford expensive European church decorations so they molded sugar figures of angels, sheep and sugar skull. The name of the person that they were remembering would be placed on the forehead of the sugar skull which would be placed on the gravestone or altar to honor the return of that particular spirit.

This will be the first year that I am teaching Spanish and I plan to celebrate this important holiday with my students.

David DeRushia
LEAF Contributor


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