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Why is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico?

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Contrary to popular opinion, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not Mexico's version of Halloween - there is no trick or treating.

It is actually the day when families visit their loved ones' graves honoring the departed.

It is the traditional way that the living ask the dead to remember them from the great beyond.

Dia de los Muertos falls on Nov. 2, just two days after Halloween. But unlike Halloween, families do not seek to scare each other with haunted houses or costumes.

Instead, they honor their loved ones buried in cemeteries, like San Rafael in Juarez, where Carmen Zamaora and her granddaughter were cleaning the final resting place of all five of their loved ones.

"They are our loved ones who passed away. And every year we would visit them. But because of the pandemic, we couldn't. And now that they opened the cemeteries, well here we are," said Zamora.

The celebration started early in the day with sprucing up gravesites, followed by a religious celebration. Then, another celebration began with music, cheer, and flowers, lots of flowers.

This was the first time families were able to celebrate Dia de los Muertos due to the pandemic lockdown.

Vendor Hugo Alfredo de Leon said last year that there was no one to sell traditional flowers to.

"Last year I sold 300 pesos all day. There were no people, the cemetery was quiet," said de Leon.

He said Tuesday that sales were non-stop, with people adding plenty of life to Dia de los Muertos.

Zamora said this was the only day she comes to visit her dearly departed because she has no transportation.

"This is the only day we come because we don't have transportation, a car. So we wait for the days that transportation is provided," said Zamora.

Public transportation is provided for people like Zamora on this day. And she takes full advantage of those services by spending he entire day inside the cemetery, not just to visit the dead, but also to keep the tradition alive for her granddaughter.

"So that this tradition doesn't get lost," she explained.

While foreign to many outside Mexico, Dia de los Muertos celebrates death and life, where they exchange mourning the passing of loved ones for the celebration of a life well lived.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.



    1. I doubt it. Isn’t ours is based war dead. Another useless holiday Mexicans don’t really celebrate is Cinco de Mayo. Only nitwit Americans do. Time to party and drink lots of booze.

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