Common Misconceptions about The Day of the Dead El día de los muertos by May Herz http://www.inside-mexico.com/noes.htm • It is not the Mexican version of Halloween. • Mexicans have celebrated the Day of the Dead since the year 1800 B.C. • It is not scary or morbid. • There are no images of dead people, ghosts, witches, or the devil. • Calaveras, or skeletons, are a modern artistic representation of the of the annual event Posada, Jose Guadalupe Calavera depicting contemporary newspapers as skeleton cyclists c. 1889-1895 Type metal engraving • It is not a cult. • This ritual has nothing to do with cults. • It is a Catholic Christian ritual intermixed with indigenous culture. • For many, going to mass is an essential aspect of this celebration. • It doesn’t honor death or dying, but remembers the life and love of dead relatives. • If offers the opportunity to reflect upon life, heritage, ancestors, and the meaning and purpose of human existence. • Altars or ofrendas are not worshipped. • Ofrendas offer love and remember departed family members as they were in life and family. • Memory and life comingle. • It is not a sad ritual. • It’s a day of happiness and remembering loved ones. • It is not a party. • When in the graveyard, people assume an introspective attitude. • There is love without grief. It is about Love not Fear • It is not a careless or fearless confrontation of death. • It is a moment to reflect upon one’s life and the cycle of life and death. • It is not a “strange” ritual. • It is very similar to going to a grave and leaving flowers, stuffed animals, flags, or lighting a candle.