Posted on by Steve Kirchhoff

Dia de los muertos - Tag der Toten - Herkunft und Bedeutung

Strictly speaking, the Sugar Skull brides and skeletal ghosts, which decorate many homes and costumes on the Day of the Dead, are not a modern Halloween trend at all. The decoration of the house and the dressing up in the partly colorful skull robes is based on a centuries-old Mexican holiday. And now let's get to the bottom of this.

Day of the Dead - Mexico's solemn memory of the dead

Every year in the night from November 1st to 2nd we commemorate the dead in large parts of Mexico. The age-old belief says that the dead souls will return that night and celebrate together with the family. In honor of the dead, days in advance the house is colorfully decorated, altars embellished and sweet gifts made available. Contrary to what the gruesome occasion suggests, a colorful and happy festival is held. And in 2003 UNESCO even decided to make these nationwide celebrations and customs the masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of mankind and thus classify them as a world cultural heritageen

How James Bond brought the Day of the Dead into the worldug

In the opening scene of the James Bond film Specter from 2015, a magnificent costume parade was shown in the heart of Mexico City. Numerous guardians of the dead, skull costumes and zombie brides line the South American metropolis and 007 is right in the middle of saving the world once more. But actually this impressive parade is a sheer invention of the British filmmakers, lavishly staged with hundreds of extras. Many moviegoers remembered the colorful masks and chic dresses for a long time. The searches for such costumes skyrocketed. In the meantime, the city's tourism authority has also recognized the marketing value of this film and officially launched a death day parade. This year alone, up to one million participants are expected.tet.

Dia de los Muertos is the same as Halloweenen?

There are strong similarities between these two festivals. The Irish, who are considered to be the founders of Halloween, also believed that the gates between the worlds of the dead and the living were open on a special evening in autumn. At Hallows Eve, the deceased have the chance to visit their families. The living relatives try to show the way with lights and torches and thus facilitate the transition. In the course of the great Irish migration to the USA in the 19th century, many Halloween customs also came overseas..

Even if many tradition-conscious Americans with Irish roots continue to celebrate the original concepts and customs, today's Halloween festival on October 31 only has little to do with Hallows Eve. Thanks to our pop culture with its films and music, this creepy party has now reached large parts of the globe. Since the Mexican celebrations overlap with Halloween and the meanings of the festive season are quite similar, it was only a matter of time before the costumes, makeup designs and masks also merge..

The symbols of the Dia de los muertos

There arenumerous characters and characters on the occasion of the feast of the dead get into the focus. These are the top 5 symbols and their meanings for Mexicans:

1. Calaca - The skeleton

Bones and skeletons are represented in many different forms. Small and narrow, drawn out, thin or wide. They have one thing in common - they are all always portrayed as happy and never as scary. In many places they are dressed in colorful, elaborate suits in honor of the dead.

2. Catrina

The catrina occupies a special position among the female skeletons. As a symbol of a noble woman from the Mexican upper class of the 19th century, she is depicted in eye-catching high-quality clothes. The skeleton bride with veil and floral wreath is also a modification of this figure.r.

3. Calavera de azucar - The sugar skull

Also known as Sugar Skull or Candy Skull, this special skull is a cute part of the holiday decoration. As a sacrificial gift or table decoration, this skull is placed in many places in the house.

4th altar

A special place for decorations is the in-house altar, which is decorated in an extremely colorful way. In addition to the Sugar Skulls, floral wreaths and bone structures are also used here.

5. Cempasúchil Flor de Muerto - Flower of Deathodes

The importance of flowers in memory of the deceased is certainly widespread worldwide. However, Mexicans use a special floral genus for the occasion. Known to us as the marigold or Turkish carnation, it is used in numerous colors for the Dia de los Muertos. Whether as a wreath, flower chain or headdress, it is omnipresent and adorns the house and costumes.

Hopefully we could tell you about this disguise trend and its originsHalloween bring something closer. If you see a bone woman or the skeleton guard walking through the city center at the end of October, then you can now assign her.

In search of Day of the Dead disguises and make-up, stop by the party panda shop and find your perfect skeleton costume.


photo credit # 1: Geoff LivingstonThe Day of the Dead viaphotopin (license)