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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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Day of the Dead celebrates memories of life

Happy Halloween to all. Tonight will mark the beginning of “Día de los Muertos” or the Day of the Dead. This two-day elaborate celebration, which takes place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2, honors the dead by remembering them – and sometimes fearing them – and is practiced by many people all over the world.
In the Latin culture, it is believed that at midnight the gates of heaven are opened and the dead are allowed to visit their loved ones. People prepare for the visit of their deceased loved ones by gathering offerings and decorating their homes to make their guests feel welcomed and celebrated.
One of the countries that’s best-known for practicing this tradition is Mexico. “Día de los Muertos” coincides with All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day observed by the Catholic Church on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, respectively.
Its celebrations are intertwined with the Latin culture.
Although the Catholic Church only observes these two days with special Masses, due to the way that people celebrate and honor their loved ones, the celebrations are elongated.
“Day of the Dead in the USA,” a book written by Regina M. Marchi, states “Key practices of the celebration in Latin America include combinations of the following: sprucing up family gravesites by weeding, cleaning and painting them; refurbishing old headstones and crosses; placing flowers and candles on graves; constructing home shrines to honor departed relatives; preparing special holiday foods or drinks; and attending Catholic services.”
Even though the day is to commemorate deceased loved ones, some people celebrate it out of fear.
There are folk tales that state when the dead come and are neglected they become angry and sad. The dead who have little or no offerings become jealous of those with plenty.
This will result in vengeance on the ones who ignored them. The neglectors will have bad luck or possibly become ill and join the dead soon after their visit.
“Día de los Muertos” is a tradition of honoring the dead, still has deep roots in Latin culture and welcomes others to take part in its history.

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Day of the Dead celebrates memories of life