In true Mexican style Day of the Dead is celebrated not just over one day but over two. However, the two days do have different significance. Today, November 1 is El Dia de los Angelitos or the Day of the Little Angels. It is believed that on this day the souls of departed children return home. In fact, it is understood that they arrive at midnight on the 31st October and spend one full day with their loved ones. Therefore, families who have lost children place milk, sweets and cookies on their altars along with toys for the children to play with.
The Aztecs believed that babies went to the fourth heaven (there were thirteen heavens in Aztec mythology) where the trees trickled milk for them. They thought that these babies would have another chance at life once this current world was destroyed and a new world was born. Children were often sacrificed in honour of Tláloc the god of rain, in the belief that their tears were as pure as raindrops.
The Aztecs celebrated two days of the dead in August, when the underworld Mictlán opened and the souls could return. When the catholic Spanish arrived in Mexico, it would appear that in order to make the “heathen” natives convert to Catholicism these days were celebrated on the catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints day.
Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist. Her work has been featured in BBC Travel, CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR and The Independent among others . Check out her portfolio here. Contact Susannah by email, info [at] mexicoretold [dot] com and join her on Instagram and Twitter.
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Today i learn something new i didn’t know this i lost my son and three months later my mom i know i must go on for my other kids but it’s hard
Dearest Guadalupe, I am so saddened to hear that, I can’t imagine how hard that must be. I lost a dear loved one and this time of year is always reflective and special for me, and a time I get to feel close to them, I love Mexico for giving me this special experience. I hope that you too find some comfort in these special days!
i feel really bad for the ones who lost their loved ones:(
I lost my beautiful little angel 2years and 4 months ago and this and on November 1st I like to imagine that he comes home to eat and play with the items we place for him. Our culture is so beautiful in allowing us to celebrate our loved ones in such a warm and loving way.
i have just lost my abuelo and it is hard so when dia de los muertos come i want to celebrate him. It is hard to go through life without him but dia de los muertos is going to help.
Thanks for your message. I hope that you find some comfort during dia de muertos. x
What is an abuelo?
Abuelo is Spanish for grandfather
I’m sorry for your losses, Caroline and Christina 😥
Sorry, that was my son, he was playing with my computer, sorry for the “oof oof”