What is Día de los Muertos? From where does it originate? And how is it celebrated? Día de los Muertos or Days of the Dead is a significant and highly celebrated holiday in Mexico, Latin America, and the Southwestern United States. To understand Día de los Muertos one has to set aside preconceived notions. To many Mexicans, death is not a subject to be feared, ignored, or divorced from the living. One cannot celebrate life without also celebrating death. This plática (informal talk) traces the origins of this Mexican festival and describes the traditional elements associated with the holiday including food, folk crafts and altars.
Elena Díaz Björkquist is a writer, historian, and artist based in Tucson, Arizona, but originally of Morenci, Arizona. She is the author of two books, Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon, and the co-editor of Sowing the Seeds, una cosecha de recuerdos and Our Spirit, Our Reality: Celebrating Our Stories. When not busy writing, Björkquist serves as a scholar and research affiliate with SIROW at the University of Arizona. She is the recipient of the 2012 Arizona Humanities Council Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award and the Arizona Commission on the Arts Bill Desmond Writing Award.