Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How did the Day of the Dead become a holiday?

Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world, where family and friends gather to pray for and remember friends and family who have died.

Over 500 years ago when the Spanish Conquistadores arrived in what is now Mexico, they noticed the indigenous people practicing a custom that mocked death. The indigenous people had been practicing this for almost 3,000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. Unlike the Spaniards who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as a continuation of life and did not fear death but embraced it. The Spaniards viewed these practices as sacrilegious and thought of the indigenous people as barbaric and pagans. The Spaniards attempted to convert the natives to Catholicism and stop the practice of the ritual, but it would not die. To make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today.

Source: http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dead/articles/dead-history.html