Spanish Day of the Dead- Free Spanish Vocabulary

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is almost here.  Sound creepy?  Well, it’s not.  Some Americans, or really many people, mistakenly think that Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Halloween.  It’s not.  No lo es.

Día de los Muertos is the opposite of morbid and macabre.  It’s a spectacular, colorful, happy, but respectful time to honor loved ones who have passed away. Think Memorial Day to the thousandth power.

History of Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos is celebrated on November first and second.  When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 1500′s, they came upon the native peoples, the Aztecs as one group, celebrating their dearly departed and the after life itself in August.  As the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries made headway in Mexico, they combined the native memorial celebration with their own All Saints’ Day.  The dates for Día de Muertos evolved into the first two days of November.

Celebrations, Imagery, & Symbols

Mexicans have an ingenious way of combining symbols and adding a distinct humor to the heavy concept of death, or La Muerte. La Muerte is both personified and humorized into the dancing, laughing skeletons. The colors used on decorations, pastries, and candles are bright and contrasting.  Here is a little vocabulary.

Día de Muertos Vocabulary

  • death= la Muerte
  • candle= la vela
  • bread of the dead= el pan de muerto
  • candied skull= la calavera
  • decorative crepe paper hangings= papel picado
  • decorative memorial= la ofrenda
  • parade= el desfile

Read more description and detail about Day of the Dead and learn and practice basic Spanish within the context of Día de Muertos

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