Despite its name, this celebration is a vibrant and happy one. It celebrates the life of a loved one already departed. It is a combination of Aztecs believes and Catholic traditions. This celebration is also called “All Souls Day”. On November 2, families remember their forefathers by preparing an altar or “ofrenda” which features a photo of a deceased relative surrounded by novena candles and marigolds. Marigolds are considered “the flowers of the soul”. The altar will also have the deceased favorite drink: café, tequila, cerveza, pictures or items resembling the deceased’s favorite hobbies, foods, and also candy. “Pan de Muerto” is only one of the pastries that can be found at the altar. This tradition is practiced in many Hispanic countries but is most popular in México. Everywhere in the city, candy in the shape of skulls, skeletons and coffins can be found. As the person eats the candy, he/she is savoring the sweetness of life and mocking death at the same time. In other Hispanic countries, people lit candles and pray for family members that had passed. People believe that the dead ones are still members of the family and both, dead and alive ones can help each other through prayer. Here at the NVC Library you can find many resources where you can learn more about this rich tradition that it has transcended into the United States and it is very much alive here in San Antonio and other cities where Hispanics live. Take a look at these materials:
Some of our databases also have very interesting information about the Day of the Dead.