Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos, or All Souls Day is a holiday dedicated to honoring the dead with joy and respect. The holiday, which is celebrated throughout multiple European and Latin American countries, is most commonly associated with Mexican traditions, but it is so much more than costumes and parades. Before western colonization, traditions and rituals to honor the dead were common in Aztec and other Mesoamerican cultures. Today it is believed that between the first and second of November, the border of the spirit world and the real world opens, giving the spirits of the dead an opportunity to visit home and see their families. Meanwhile, friends and families alike decorate ofrendas, a type of altar, with pictures of their ancestors and offerings for their late friends and families. Ofrendas and grave sites are lined with marigolds, a native flower to Mexico, believed to help souls find their way back home. On November 2, the public celebrates the souls of the dead with parades, festivals and other festivities.
The unique holiday is celebrated differently all over the world with various traditions and beliefs surrounding the Day of the Dead. In Columbia, SC, you can find various Day of the Dead events put on by local stores and restaurants, however the most notable is at the Columbia Art Museum on November 11. The event is organized by Palmetto Luna Arts and includes many activities and opportunities to embrace the tradition.
Photograph courtesy of The Columbia Museum of Art
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