Day of the Dead

Timeline created by christinatao
In History
  • 1500

    Function of the Expression

    Function of the Expression
    Question: How has the popularization of Day of the Dead mainstream consumer culture contributed to its connection with its original Mexican beliefs about the nature of death?
    The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a reunion that includes food, drink and celebration.
  • 1520

    Who is impacted? How does this reflect the culture and society of the time and place?

    Who is impacted? How does this reflect the culture and society of the time and place?
    This tradition has its roots in Aztec cultures and beliefs dating back to 3000 years ago. The Aztec gave offerings to their deceased ancestors as part of their death rituals. When the Spanish conquerors came in the 16th century, the celebration merged with Catholic beliefs and practices, creating a significant religious tradition.
  • What events impacted and transformed the expression over time?

    What events impacted and transformed the expression over time?
    Historical event: The most prominent symbols related to the Day of the Dead are calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). In the early 19th century, the printer and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada reenvisioned Mictecacíhuatl, the Aztec goddess of the underworld, as a female skeleton known as La Calavera Catrina, now the most recognizable Day of the Dead icon.
  • Spread of Celebration

    Spread of Celebration
    Social Event: Originally, Day of the Dead festivities were popular in only indigenous areas in Mexico. In the 1980s, the celebration spread to more urban areas of the country. Ofrendas became visible in places such as public buildings and museums.
  • Spread of Celebration

    Spread of Celebration
    Social Event: Over the last several years, a growing number of people of Mexican and other Latin American descent have celebrated Day of the Dead throughout the U.S. The Mexican diaspora to the states during the 1990s through the early 2000s largely contributed to that.
  • Halloween

    Halloween
    Social Event: Very commonly confused with Halloween. In the early 20th century, Irish and Scottish communities revived the Old World traditions in the United States, asking for donations of food and disguising themselves in costumes. By the 1920s, however, pranks had become the Halloween activity of choice for young people. and people began using skeletons and skulls as a scary image of Halloween, very similar to the Day of the Dead.
  • What factors contributed to the changes?

    What factors contributed to the changes?
    In 2008, UNESCO added the "indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead" to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It was the first cultural practice from Mexico recognized.
  • Pop Culture

    Pop Culture
    Scenes of the Day of the Dead parade appeared in the 2015 James Bond movie "Spectre."
  • Mexico City

    Mexico City
    Inspired by the James Bond film, Mexico City hosted its first Day of the Dead parade in 2016, which brought thousands of participants celebrating in the streets.
  • Inspiration

    Inspiration
    In 2017, a number of major U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Fort Lauderdale, held Day of the Dead parades.
  • Pop Culture

    Pop Culture
    Disney and Pixar released the blockbuster animated movie Coco, a $175 million homage to the Mexican tradition. It is about a young boy who is transported to the Land of the Dead and meets up with his long-lost ancestors.
  • Guiding Question Answered

    Guiding Question Answered
    How has the popularization of Day of the Dead mainstream consumer culture contributed to its connection with its original Mexican beliefs about the nature of death?
    Because of Hollywood and the commercialization of the tradition, it has transitioned from a private family celebration who truly believed the dead family members returned home to a much more community oriented event like the huge parade celebrations which has removed a lot of the sincere belief.