Culture Contrast: An Experiential Paper
November 10, 2009
Soc 101, Fall 2009
For this experiential paper, it was assigned to assist the event called “Day of the Dead” (Dia de los Muertos), which is celebrated November 1st and 2nd. Because of the closeness of the dates it is commonly related to Halloween, but Day of the Dead has a different meaning than the one of Halloween.
Halloween it is commonly celebrated in the United States on October 31st and it celebrates the day of the spirits and the dark side. In the US people dress in scary costumes and go from door to door asking for “trick or treat”. Most of Halloween is celebrated by children, and later at night older people have gatherings or costume parties. But lately Halloween has lost its meaning of being “scary” most people dress up with different costumes.
Day of the Dead is celebrated in a different note and for different causes. It is mostly celebrated in Mexico, Philippines and some Latin American cultures. It is connected with the Catholic holidays Day of all Saints which is November 1st and Day of all Souls on November 2nd. Coming from a Catholic family I have never heard of Day of the Dead or that we celebrated it, but by doing some research I found out that in Peru, where I am originally from, we celebrate it by visiting dead relatives to their graves and bring them flowers or prayers.
In Mexico Dia de los Muertos have a different twist to it, people prepare for this date in advance most people prepare up to a year before this date. They prepare ofrendas which is several forms of altars and shrines dedicated to their dead relatives or anyone very close to them that has passed away. They gather things, food and beverages that their deceased liked while they were alive and arrange it in their altars as a remembering. Skulls a very common, some make sugar or chocolate skulls or dressed up skeletons. Traditionally, families spend some time around the altar, praying and telling anecdotes about...