Did you know only licensed real estate agents may sell cemetery property in Arizona? That’s right, while there are some exceptions, you need to go through a Realtor to buy a grave plot in Arizona. But what does that have to do with Day of the Dead? Well, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration that involves decorating the graves of loved ones who have passed away. Despite this focus on the final resting place, Day of the Dead is actually a celebration of life.
Dia de los Muertos began in ancient Mesoamerica (present day Mexico and northern Central America) where indigenous communities commemorated deceased loved ones. Modern celebrations are held throughout Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela. Day of the Dead is technically November 2 (All Souls’ Day) but celebrations are often held on October 31 (All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween) as well as November 1st (All Saints’ Day).
If it’s not possible to visit the grave sites of loved ones, families often adapt the tradition by creating altars in their own homes. These altars can be decorated with flowers, candles, ceramic or candy skulls, favorite foods and pictures of the loved ones. This creates a festive atmosphere where family members can gather to eat, sing, visit and share stories of those who have passed.
Curious to know more? The Cultural Coalition will be hosting the 6th Dial De Los Muertos Phoenix Festival this year at Steele Indian School Park.