DAY OF THE DEAD and Halloween may look alike, but while Halloween has an obvious spookiness factor, it’s not REALLY about death. It doesn’t make you stare your mortality in the face and challenge you to dance on the graves of people you loved. Dia de Muertos reminds us, in all of its colour and darkness, joy and grief, nostalgia and celebration, that we must live, that death will come one day, whether we want to admit it or not. Its message: Don’t wait until later — live your life now.
Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico, is a bipolar affair. Without the vibrancy and colour, it wouldn’t be the celebration of life that it is. Without the darkness and melancholy, it wouldn’t hold the emotional depth that it does. The many contrasts and contradictions are what make the holiday.