Why Dia De Los Muertos Doesn’t Interpret to “Mexican Halloween”

Cesar Lopez, Writer

Mexico’s commencement of Dia de Los Muertos falls the very next day after Halloween, leading many Americans to believe it’s the “Mexican Halloween.” However, Dia de Los Muertos is not even remotely similar to Halloween. Dia de Los Muertos is a day preserved to honor and celebrate the dead through skulls, altars, and face paintings.


Dia de Los Muertos can be traced back to 3,000 years ago with the Aztec people and other indigenous groups in present-day central Mexico. The Aztec people held a cynical view of the universe, they saw death as ever-present life. When the Spanish came and conquered Mexico, they took the Aztecs’ celebrations and rituals and incorporated them into Catholic dates. For this specific celebration of honoring the dead, they named it Dia de Los Muertos. 


People build altars and decorate them with flowers, pictures of the deceased, and their favorite food, and read poems and letters to them. Another way people celebrate is by going to the cemetery and cleaning out one’s grave and bringing food to welcome the spirits. People also paint their faces as a skull to honor those who are not alive anymore. 


This is why you can’t call Dia de Los Muertos “Mexican Halloween” because this tradition isn’t going door-to-door asking for candy. This tradition has huge cultural history and has been passed down from generation to generation, it has an entirely different meaning and significance from Halloween.