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Video:What Is Day of the Dead?

with Ardis Campbell

Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated at the beginning of November every year. Here's a short video profile on the story behind Day of the Dead.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is Day of the Dead?

Hi, I'm Ardis, and today for About.com we are going to talk about the Day of the Dead.

Dates of Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is an annual holiday that's rituals and celebrations have their origins in the indigenous cultures of Mexico. It is always celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November. On the 1st, people celebrate the lives of lost children, and on the 2nd they celebrate the spirits of adults. Many people confuse the Day of the Dead with the American holiday, Halloween, because of how close they are on the calendar. However, Dia de los Muertos, is much more a celebration of life, rather than death. It is believed that on this day, spirits of lost family members and loved ones can come back to communicate with the living and everyone tells stories and anecdotes from when they were alive.

History of the Day of the Dead

Originally, this holiday was a month long celebration in the 9th month of the Aztec calendar year. The ceremonies were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, or the Lady of the Dead, who is believed to have died at birth. All of the rituals were a celebration of life, for the Aztecs didn't believe death was the end, but rather the beginning, and that before death everything is a dream. When the Spaniards that came and conquered these ancient tribes discovered this holiday, they believed it to be sacrilegious and tried to banish it. However, the ritual remained and the Spaniards were forced to acknowledge it. They moved it to the beginning of November to coincide with the Catholic holiday All Saints' Day, in an attempt to make it a Christian holiday as opposed to Pagan.

Dia de los Muertos is a unique holiday and one of the last celebrations left over from original, indigenous peoples. And that is the Mexican Day of the Dead. Thank you for watching and for more information, visit us on the web at About.com

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