Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition where on November 1st and 2nd, people gather to celebrate and honor those who have past away. Sugar skulls, papel picado, marigolds, and bright colors are the most recognizable items associated with the holiday. These items are used to decorate altars that are dedicated to those who have passed. Their favorite items (such as food and drink) are placed on the altar in the hopes that they come back to visit. This Mexican tradition might seem a bit strange to Americans, as we are used to just dressing up for Halloween and trick-or-treating, but many cultures around the world celebrate and honor the dead in a similar way (left image). This respectable holiday is quite beautiful not just in thought but in decoration. Here is a closer look at what is involved...
Sugar skulls are decorated with colorful icing and sequins, making them joyful, non-frightening skeletons. "The sugar represents the sweetness of life and the skull represents the sadness of death" (via ).
Papel Picado is a paper craft where designs are cut from colorful sheets of tissue and then strung into a banner for decoration. Papel picado is not only used as decoration for Dia de los Muertos, but for many other Mexican festivities.
Marigolds are known as the flower of the dead. The flower is quite vibrant in color but appropriately, smells of death, well maybe not death, but it's pretty horrible. (left image/right image)
Dia de los Muertos is becoming more and more recognized in the States. Even Disneyland pays tribute to the holiday now (pictured above).
If you've been following this season of Project Runway, then you know what a fabulous designer Mondo Guerra is. I loved his clever mix of prints and colors... his final collection was Dia de los Muertos inspired with a twist of the old Mexican circus. Image above via