Undergraduate Research Journal


In recent years, Americans have become enthralled with what many might refer to as Mexican Halloween. Notably, the Disney film Coco in 2017 portrayed a fantastical interpretation of the holiday, combining music and a wholesome story typical of the company’s many animated films. Although the celebration falls just after October 31st, the traditional holiday is not an imitation of the Americanized All Hallows’ Eve. Yes, there are costumes, candy, and lots of partying, but the purpose and intent of the holiday is entirely different. With rapidly growing popularity in the United States and even across the world, it is important for everyone to understand the origins and cultural significance of this unique celebration. Despite some evidence that suggests that much Día de Muertos (also called Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead) may have come from the Iberian Peninsula, the holiday still holds tremendous cultural significance to Mexicans, for those in their home country and among immigrant communities around the world. From its purported origins in ancient Mesoamerica, its fusion with Catholicism during Mexico’s colonial period, to its growth outside of Mexico today, Day of the Day challenges its participants to view death not as a sad or tragic event, but as a joyous and honorable celebration.



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