Fiesta de la Dia de los Muertos

In Hispanic tradition, November 1st is the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. This is a celebration of life (despite what the name would suggest) where those who have passed away are remembered and honored.

I first learned about the Day of the Dead in my high school Spanish class. The two things I remember most about that class were our Day of the Dead party and the “La Catrina” videos we watched all semester. Mi bisabuela!!

I’ve always thought this holiday was a little creepy. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone who does celebrate Dia de los Muertos, because I know it has a lot of deep cultural roots. That’s actually why I feel weird about it. I’ve just always felt like participating only for the food and refreshments is a little disrespectful to those who sincerely observe this holiday. After all, the person next to me might be mourning the passing of a loved one and embracing this tradition of remembrance; and a few feet away, my friends and I are taking advantage of the free food and a chance to spend less time talking about currency exchange and more about the kinds of food the Irish exchange student hasn’t tried, yet.

But nobody seemed to mind last night in my International Business class, and we all embraced the break from our normal routine. It was nice to focus on something cultural and to learn more about the significance of certain elements of Dia de los Muertos. For instance, the sweet foods are meant to make the dead smile, and they place soap, water, and washcloths (or brightly colored loofahs, in our case) on the altar because they believe the dead have traveled a long way and might want to freshen up. It’s an interesting concept, and very creative, and whether you believe in it or not, it’s always good to learn more about a different culture so that you can better understand the people raised in said culture.


We had quite the spread of food. Lots of drinks, boxes and boxes of pizza, many Hispanic dishes (including some delicious rice and a salsa with corn and avocados that our professor made), and more desserts than we could handle which is not a bad problem to have, as far as I’m concerned.


Did anyone else celebrate Dia de los Muertos? What foods do you usually prepare for it? What other traditions do you have? Please share them in the comments below.

Until the next taste,