Día De Los Muertos: From Family to Family

Cultural Identity


Miranda Martinez, Cactus Writer

I would like to offer you a brief introduction to the history of Day of the Dead or Día de Los Muertos. It is a primarily Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in places such as the United States. It is also acknowledged internationally in many cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and to help support their spiritual journey. For years, my family has been celebrating Día de Los Muertos a bit untraditionally. We do have our simple alters around our house that are up all year, we usually add more decorations to them during the few days of the celeration. We do go out to visit graves and be with our loved ones but unlike the large extravagant alters most people in Mexico set up; ours are simple. Small and light, but still very powerful. My mother and I tend to celebrate the lives of our family constantly and believe wherever they are they are simply at peace. So, with our small offering and travel size alters we take part in a large festival held in Tucson Arizona.

The All Souls Procession is held every year, usually on the 2nd or 3rd of November. Each year it is one of the nation’s largest gatherings, often attracting close to 150,000 visitors. Thousands of people with alters, traditional make up, and photos of loved one walk the streets of down town Tucson together. Each year they also have schools, groups and even the Pride of Arizona Band walking with the All Souls Procession. The procession has three major parts; the actual procession, the pagan tradition of putting the names of passed loved ones into a large collection, and finally the party and burning of the names at the end. My mother and I rarely attend the end gathering, because to us, personally,  it is more pagan and less representative of our culture. It is an amazing event and I recommend you see it at least once in your life.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);