Why is the Day of the Dead celebrated more than Halloween in Mexico?
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead celebration is much more important compared to the imported tradition of Halloween from the US. Here’s why this is so.
The Day of the Dead, or “Dia de los Muertos”, and Halloween are two celebrations that are very close in terms of dates. In Mexico, the most important is the former, while for majority of Americans the latter is the most important.
Let’s look at some of the differences between the two traditions.
Day of the Dead in Mexico
Dia de los Muertos is one of the oldest traditions in Central America, since it comes from Catholic religious rituals brought by the Spanish and the commemoration that the indigenous people carried out since pre-Hispanic times.
The ancient Mexicas, Mixtecs, Texcocans, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Totonacs and other indigenous peoples of Mexico transferred the veneration of their dead to the Christian calendar, which coincided with the end of the agricultural cycle of corn, the main food crop of the country.
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The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2. November 1 (which is All Saints’ Day in the Catholic calendar), is dedicated to children, while November 2 is for the Faithful Departed, dedicated to grown ups.
The most important element is the offering of the dead, and over the years some elements have been incorporated into this tradition.
The origin of Halloween
The celebration of Halloween takes place on October 31. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and its origin dates back to an ancient pagan festival which was celebrated by the Celts 2,000 years ago and was known as Samhain.
This festival took place in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the northwest of France. It should be noted that the Celts believed that Samhain was a time when the souls of the dead returned to the world of the living to visit their homes.
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This celebration came to the United States through the Irish immigrants who settled in the country, and over the years it became a commercial holiday. It has become customary for children to go out into the streets trick-or-treating for candy wearing costumes.
In Mexico, some customs also began to be adapted from Halloween, such as having costume parties and, in some states in the north of the country, kids also tend to go trick-or-treating.