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Dia de los Muertos: History, meaning and how to celebrate

When people think about the beginning of fall, first they probably think about how the nice weather makes for a good game of golf around Arizona golf communities. Next, attention likely goes towards the holidays, starting with Halloween. What many people don’t think about is the Dia de los Muertos holiday, immediately following Halloween on November 1st. While not as popular as Halloween or Thanksgiving, this fall celebration is rooted in southwest history and can be a fun way to remember loved ones. 

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos originated in central and southern Mexico and although it coincides with the Catholic holiday of All Souls and All Saint’s Day, the indigenous Mexican people incorporated it into their own beliefs about celebrating departed souls. It is their belief that the gates to heaven open at midnight on October 31st and the spirits of deceased loved ones are reunited with their family for a 24-hour period.
In many homes, beautiful altars dedicated to passed loved ones are decorated with candles, flowers, pictures, and all kinds of traditional foods and drinks. The food and drink is intended to help the weary spirits of family members gain strength on their travels. Folk-art skeletons and sugar skulls are also representations at the altar and of the holiday. The celebration ends in the cemetery where tombs are cleaned and stories of the dearly departed are told.
The celebration of Dia de los Muertos has become quite popular in the U.S. and there are a couple ways you can celebrate this mystical day around the area. 
Botanical Garden’s Dia de los Muertos Celebration
October 29 – October 30
Understand and experience the true meaning of Dia de los Muertos through music, dance, and storytelling at this two-day, family-friendly celebration. There is live entertainment, face painting, and a community altar where you can leave a paper flower or note in memory of a loved one. There is an Ofrenda (offering) exhibit, where local artists have made personal altars for this celebration. Admission is $22 for ages 19-59, $20 for 60+, $12 for students, $10 for 3-12, and free for under 3.
Downtown Phoenix Dia de los Muertos Celebration
November 6
Join the Day of the Dead celebration in Downtown Phoenix. There will be live entertainment, food from local vendors, art on display from local artists, and many activities for the whole family. A community altar will be on display and a procession will be held during the celebration in remembrance of loved ones. Admission is free, but a canned food donation is highly appreciated.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, whether it be in your home or out at a community celebration, it is all about the same thing: remembering your departed loved ones and reminiscing about the good times. 
Don Matheson
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
[email protected]
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