Begin your Celebrations Here!
A holiday that has been celebrated in many countries for centuries is the Day of the Dead festival. This holiday is celebrated on the 31st of October and is observed for 3 days. The tradition originated in Mexico, and it is practiced throughout Latin America, with each country using their own mix of religious rites and pagan rituals. It is a holiday to honor and celebrate the dead, but how that is achieved varies with the culture of the people. Enjoy this is the worldwide local’s guide of some of the ways different countries mark Día de Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead).
In the Mexican culture, the Day of the Dead is seen not as a sad day but as a day of celebration, because their loved ones awake, and celebrate with them. Join the locals as they prepare for the festivities. They head to the markets and purchase the biggest, brightest bunch of cempazúchitl (marigolds) and other flowers, and begin preparations on the traditional Day of the Dead foods.
To participate in or observe Mexico’s indigenous Day of the Dead traditions, ditch the touristy spots and head to southern Mexico where this culture is most active. It’s essential to plan ahead and choose your location wisely, as finding a place to stay can be challenging in remote areas. Keep in mind, when visiting cemeteries, even a basic knowledge of Spanish will facilitate your immersion into the festive rituals. In most locales, families are keen to share stories about their departed and will welcome you into their festivities. A few shots of tequila can help you fit right in and start asking for your hosts to share their favorite Day of the Dead facts.
Traditionally, the Irish believed that at certain times of the year, the boundaries between the mortal and unearthly realms broke down--especially on Halloween (Samhain), All Saints’ Day, and All Soul’s Day.
Modern day celebrations are much less pagan and are all about fun. During this time of year, people in Ireland typically eat a traditional fruitcake called Barmbrack which contains a hidden prize. Instead of getting shop-bought barmbracks, which all contain a ring, you are better off making them at home and adding your own treats to include any of the following:
A rag – your financial future is doubtful
A coin – you will have a prosperous year
A ring – impending romance or continued happiness
A thimble – you’ll never marry
Each member of the family eats a slice to reveal the hidden prize.
On the first day of November every year, many people in the Philippines celebrate the Day of the Dead, called Araw ng mga Patay. On the night of Nov 1, join the celebrants as they go door-to-door, requesting gifts and singing a traditional verse representing the liberation of holy souls from purgatory. Head to the cemeteries where you’ll find the locals playing cards, socializing, dancing, and singing throughout the day as they invoke the dead, and see how these traditions differ from the Day of the Dead, Mexico. Visit different cemeteries to see how various Filipino families honor the memory of their loved ones.
Mahalaya is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of Devi-Paksha and the end of the Pitri-Paksha (the Shradh or the mourning period). It usually occurs in late October or early November. This is the time of year when Indian people call up the dead with prayers and in doing so, put the souls of their deceased loved ones to rest until they meet again. Join other devotees as they pray and take a dip in the holy waters of the Banganga Tank in Mumbai, in honor of the souls of the departed.
Explore the Culture, History, and Celebration
People across the world honor the dead differently, by holding private burials, visiting the graves of their loved ones, or observing a 2-minute moment of silence (like in the army). As a worldwide local, discover the different Day of the Dead histories from many countries and learn how the people of each place connect with the spirit world during this period.