For many of us, the spookiest holiday of the year is also the most anticipated.
Halloween Is The Holiday of celebration for all the witch-loving, costume-loving and fall-obsessed masses, and every day after is simply part of the countdown to next year’s festivities. For everyone else, however, the end of Halloween ushers in a new month – and a new holiday. It’s rare for our celebrations to fall back to back like this, but late October and early November are the exception.
What is the day after Halloween?
The most obvious answer to this question is, as my boss so elegantly put it, “1. November, you idiots,” but that’s probably not what people are wondering. Of course, everyone knows that November 1st follows October 31st, but not everyone knows the significance of the first day of November.
This day is also known as Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Many people, especially in the educational wasteland of America, confuse this holiday with Halloween, but the two are actually completely different. Día de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday usually celebrated on the first and second days of November – although there are occasional celebrations on October 31st and November 6th. These occasional overlaps are likely the cause of misunderstandings about the holidays, but even if they are celebrated on the same day, Halloween and Día de los Muertos are two completely different holidays.
I won’t waste time rehashing the origins of Halloween since this is a story about Día de los Muertos, but I do know that its origins far predate those of the first holiday in November. Halloween in its various forms dates back about 2,000 years, while most scholars agree that Día de los Muertos is at most about a century old. At least in its current form.
There are arguments that the holiday has much older roots, with influences from indigenous cultures dating back to pre-Hispanic times, but most people agree that Día de los Muertos – at least as it is celebrated today – is largely in The 1930s and 40s. Similar traditions go back much further, of course, but the Day of the Dead we know and love is largely the result of a push by Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas to establish deeper nationalism through the colorful holiday.
Día de los Muertos is a day of celebration and remembrance of those we have lost. Typically, family and friends gather to make offerings to our dearly departed loved ones and share stories about our time with them. It deviates from the typical celebration surrounding death and instead gives us the opportunity to laugh and tell humorous stories about our lost loved ones. It’s a wonderfully cathartic vacation for anyone who has suffered loss, and I highly recommend it. If you like it, you can find real relief and closure in celebrating the beloved holiday for yourself.