Every culture has its unique beliefs and traditions for remembering the lives of loved ones who have passed away. One of the most interesting and joyful ways to recognize loss and celebrate loved ones is Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a religious holiday observed in Mexico.
What is Day of the Dead?
Dia de los Muertos originated centuries ago in Mexico and is still widely celebrated there on November 1st and 2nd. It’s a holiday for remembering and honoring loved ones through festive and joyous get-togethers among family and friends. The holiday fuses indigenous Mexican beliefs with traditional Spanish Catholic beliefs.
Day of The Dead Traditions
Many people create altars that honor their loved ones, and allow guests to enter their homes and view the altars. Families will also spend the day cleaning off the graves of their loved ones and decorating them with marigold flowers, candles, and favorite foods and drinks of those who have passed. Families will spend time in the graveyard telling stories and reminiscing about the lives of lost loved ones
Traditional sugar skulls are common ingredient for celebrating Dia de los Muertos. These are skulls made from granulated sugar and decorated with icing, feathers, colored foil and other items. The skulls are edible and are very popular among children. The aesthetics and design of sugar skulls are also commonly associated with Dia de los Muertos.
Day of the Dead Temporary Tattoos
For Halloween, or as a nod to Dia de los Muertos, you can use day of the dead temporary tattoos to create a haunting sugar skull look. Each element of the design is an individual tattoo. There are options for your faces, hands, and arms, including regular tattoos, glitter tattoos, and even glow in the dark skeletal tattoos. Overall, this is a less messy and complicated alternative to applying face paint or makeup for your day of the dead look.
To complete the look, cut out the individual designs, cutting as close as possible to the ink. Apply each design one-by-one and let the face dry completely. Then, for an extra effect, add dark makeup around your eyes and draw skeleton teeth around your mouth using a black pencil or eyeliner. Ladies may want to accent their look by placing a flower in their hair.
Do you and your family celebrate Dia de los Muertos? Here in Tucson, we celebrate community-wide with The All Souls Procession each year in November. Nearly 100,000 participants march along a two mile route through the downtown area. Most of the participants have their faces painted and carry memorials to lost loved ones. This is not a somber event, but a true celebration, with music, costumes, and a ton of creativity. The procession ends in a grand finale with performers, music, and food for the whole community to enjoy. Tell us about your own Dia de los Muertos traditions in the comments below.