Dias de los Muertos

By Liesel Lutz


Dias de los Muertos, otherwise known as The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in many places, but it originated in Mexico. Dias de los Muertos is from October 31st to November 2nd and contrary to popular belief is not a “Mexican Halloween.” Dias de los Muertos is a day for lost loved ones to visit their alive relatives. They’re guided by marigolds back to the living world. Loved ones will put up ofrendas which typically consist of pictures, food, and favorite items. They honor the ones they’ve lost with stories, dancing, and music. Dias de los Muertos is about celebrating the lives of family members. It truly is a fiesta. There’s a special day for lost children and a special day for lost adults. Some popular icons of Dias de los Muertos are the calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) and alebrijes which are the spirit guides to the underworld.


A lot of awareness about Dias de los Muertos came from the recent Disney Pixar movie Coco. Representing different cultures in media is crucially important. The fact that Coco was also a kids move is very important because it helps create empathy and understanding in children about cultures that may not be their own. Additionally, for the kids who do celebrate Dias de los Muertos it’s a movie that connects to their personal experiences and therefore makes it resonate more with them.

I grew up less than an hour from Mexico in the United States. Dias de los Muertos was the biggest fiesta of the year. All day long from October 31st to November 2nd there were parades and celebrations. The entire town went out and a lot of kids would even miss school to celebrate. However, when night came it was amazing how it turned into a more somber event. Families were still celebrating, but in a quieter and more intimate way. I remember walking through town and seeing thousands of marigolds and candles. It was a beautiful thing to witness. In school we’d watch films in Spanish about Dias de los Muertos and the entire week would just revolve around Dias de los Muertos. It was amazing to me that when I moved at 13 to Washington State not a lot of people knew what Dias de los Muertos was, or knew that it wasn’t just a “Mexican Halloween”. Representing different cultures in media and making them accessible to everyone really does help people understand others better. I think that after Coco I encounter a lot less people who think that Dias de los Muertos is just a “Mexican Halloween”. Here at Outrageous Fortune, we keep this in mind and try to accept work from people of all different backgrounds with completely different styles of writing. It’s wonderful to celebrate what makes us special and sometimes it’s even better to get to share it with the world.