Several days ago, my wife and I celebrated my birthday, which happens to coincide with the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, otherwise known to the English-speaking world as the Day of the Dead. Without a cultural anchor like Detroit’s Mexican Town, one could be forgiven for thinking “Day of the Dead” is based on an old cult horror film. Apart from its Halloween-esque appearance, Day of the Dead is in reality a festive and colorful celebration established in Mexico hundreds of years ago and observed currently in numerous countries all around the globe.
Dedicated to the remembrance of friends and relatives who have passed from this life, Dia de los Muertos is considered a mainly Mexican holiday, yet the day itself (actually November 1st and 2nd) is perhaps better known to Roman Catholics as All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day. For the population of Mexican Town here in southeastern Michigan, as well as other Mexican and Spanish-speaking areas around the country, this holiday provides an opportunity for family members, neighbors and others in these close-knit communities to share in the prayer and memory of those dearly departed.