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Day of the Dead – What is it really?

Day of the Dead is fast approaching! But what is it? And what's the proper way to celebrate this occasion? We dive into history, food and festivities!

Have you heard of the Day of the Dead before? Easily confused with Halloween, the Day of the Dead is officially celebrated on November 2, with festivities beginning on October 31st. The name itself sounds quite spooky, resulting in its association with Halloween. This colourful holiday is actually quite the opposite, with the tone being much more joyful! Follow us through the history of Day of the Dead & discover how you can partake in the festivities this year in Melbourne!

Where it All Began

This Mexican holiday, known to locals as Dia de los Muertos, began over 3000 years ago with the Aztecs. The idea behind it was to celebrate loved ones living and dead. Day of the Dead was initially in the summer but was moved to the beginning of November to coincide with the All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

On October 31st, it’s believed that the spirits of deceased children are released from the gates of heaven to be with their family members for a day. By November 2nd, the spirits of the adults join and rejoice in the festivities. When the Spanish people encountered this ritual they believed it to be sacrilegious. Somehow the tradition continued on and spread throughout all of Mexico each and every year!

Fiesta Festivities

In celebration of Day of the Dead, families come together to prepare an altar of offerings to the dead. This is known as ofrendas in Spanish and is essential to the festivities of the event. The offerings usually consist of images of saints, flowers, salt and water, incense and of course sugar skulls.

Sugar skulls are used to represent a departed soul and are decorated by children and family members to celebrate one’s life. Each skull can be personalised and offers an opportunity to display beautiful colours for the celebration.

With the ultimate goal being to celebrate life, Day of the Dead wouldn’t be a true fiesta without traditional Mexican food on site! Like any true Mexican holiday, good food is crucial. Tamales, caramel flan, tacos, you name it! If you want to have a truly authentic experience, you’ll want to try sweet bread known as pan de muertos or tasty fried pastry, sopaipilla!

Don’t worry amigos, we haven’t forgotten about the drinks! It goes without saying that alcohol is enjoyed as part of the celebration. While there is no traditional drink for the Day of the Dead, we reckon it’s safe to stick with a variety of margaritas, but anything with tequila will do!

Not sure how to celebrate the Day of the Dead this year? Stop by Taco Bill Mexican in Melbourne for an authentic experience and most importantly — amazing food!

At Taco Bill Mexican we love getting involved with our traditions and celebrating this special ritual. In honour of this special occasion we have a deadly surprise coming your way! Stay tuned for the big reveal next week and get ready to book a table near you.

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