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Dia de los Muertos - PLK Traditions



Dia de los Muertos a tradition passed down more than 3,000 years ago. There are so many interpretations of this celebration amongst different cultures and places. Many of us can say death has been a topic that most do not want to discuss or even fear. Our culture is so beautiful and it has taught us that death is a part of life and we are to honor the spiritual realm we all come from and make space for it in our daily lives. Dia de Los Muertos is said to begin on November 1st and end on the 2nd when our ancestors come back

to visit us, and in tradition we create altars as a space in our home for them. Our ancestors/loved ones are always near us and we will forever be connected. Life and death are symbolic. Although we may not see them in the physical 3D world we live in, they are in the realm we all come from and will go to. Honoring our ancestors can look different to everyone, but PLK is excited to share our team member’s interpretations.


“We don’t think of the dead like they are gone forever, but more that they are always going to be with us.” (2)



Items that are common on altars include:

  • Marigolds

  • Skulls

  • Photos of loved ones

  • Food and beverage for your loved one’s return

  • Candles














DJ’s interpretation looks like going to festivals such as Olvera Street to be in the energy of our culture where marigolds, skulls, and altars are everywhere! It is great to see how people honor their ancestors and ways you can incorporate them for your home.


Having an altar in my home is up every day of the year, not just for Dia de los Muertos. I find that having a space in my home dedicated to speaking and honoring my loved ones who have transitioned makes it easier to deal with not seeing them in the 3D. Looking at pictures and their personal items are what keep my life full and not noticing the void of their transition. If you have experienced a loved one passing, having an altar keeps them alive in my eyes. It is a space you can go to and talk, show them love, and ask for guidance as you normally would. The tradition of Dia de los Muertos helped change my perception on death and really tap into my spirituality. When we free ourselves from fear, and accept the beautiful transition we all go through, you will really cherish your days and loved ones. Now that is a more fulfilling way to look at death, in love with life. I am looking to tap in and get my face painted like La Calavera, a sugar skull. This is a tradition where brightly colored skulls represent the departed souls in the circle of life. “It's to celebrate their lives.” (2) Also, I will be eating pan de muerto (until I can perfect my recipe). This is a typical bread eaten during the 2 days. It is so delicious with a hint of orange. Lastly, I will be amongst loved ones with an open heart to welcome my ancestors who have transitioned. Let us know how you celebrate and your perception of death. Hoping to shed light to open your mind and heart to this thing we call life.





Nancy also celebrates Día de los Muertos year round by having altars set up at her house. She also used to Aztec dance and attended the yearly Día de los Muertos ceremonies where all the groups gathered and danced around the altars they built for their loved ones. “I started Aztec dancing when I was 9 so I learned at a young age that our loved ones were still with us in spirit”. Nancy loves her Mexican culture and dancing helped her understand and connect with her roots, and most importantly that death can be a beautiful thing because we’ll always have our ancestors watching over us.


Reference

2 https://www.rutgers.edu/news/what-meaning-behind-day-dead-symbolism#:~:text=Calavera%20de%20Azucar%2FSugar%20Skulls&text=Unlike%20the%20ghoulish%20skulls%20and,their%20lives%2C%E2%80%9D%20said%20Caballero.


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