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Day of the Dead Art

What is Dia de los muertos?

More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered a native ritual that seemed to mock the dead. It was a ritual the indigenouspeople had been practicing at least 3000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try to eradicate. A ritual known today as Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.  The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skullsto symbolize death and rebirth.  Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it.  However, the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious.   In their attempts to convert them to Catholicism, the Spaniards tried to kill the ritual.  They failed, so to make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today. Most all cultures have customs dealing with grief and lost ones but the customs of Mexico's dia de los muertos can bring some understanding and joy to the tragic and sad events of our lives.  Today, Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in certain parts of the United States and Central America and continues to spread.