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Mexican Culture and American Culture: Celebrating the Day of the Dead

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Mexican culture and America culture have many similarities and differences when it comes to death and the afterlife. Similarities include mourning, funerals, wakes, and dressing in black clothing. Some differences are that in Mexico, right after someone dies there is a much longer wake lasts the entire night. The loved one is surrounded by friends and family and is not left alone for a single second. Another difference is that the burial must take place the following day. The reason why is because it is very uncommon for the body to go through the embalming process. Afterwards, Catholics host a gathering for nine days and pray the rosary. It is nine days because that’s how long it takes for the body to decompose and for the soul to reach heaven. In different Mexican states, the novena takes place every year for nine years. Both practices take place where the deceased lived.

Another practice that is culturally different is how remember the dead. Both American and Mexican cultures remember their loved ones on special days like their birthdays or anniversaries. But in Mexico, we practice what is known as the Day of the Dead. On this day, we remember our ancestors and celebrate the life they lived. The practice involves music, dancing, costumes, parades, alters and family gatherings. This celebration takes place every year on October 31st to November 2nd. It is celebrated all over Latin America but mainly in Mexico.

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I believe celebrating the dead helps people cope with the loss. It helps them remember them in a positive way and revisit their memories. Growing up, this was the day when I would hear my grandparents’ stories. Like their hobbies, favorite foods and all the challenges they faced coming to America. I do believe celebrating the dead was based or created from society because the tradition can be traced back to the Aztecs. According “Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)” author Enrique Castro, the Aztecs believed that when people die that they travel to the land of the dead. The deceased must complete a challenging nine level journey in order to reach heaven. That is why food was offered, so it can help them on their journey (Castro, 2018). Another important part of this practice is the orange marigold flowers places on the graves. The indigenous believed the smell brings back the dead and allows them to visit our world.

The practice also represents morals because it teaches people to respect their elders, ancestors and culture. Although there may be cultural differences in the way we celebrate those who’ve passed, both American and Mexican cultures honor their loved ones and continue to pass down their stories to future generations.

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Mexican Culture and American Culture: Celebrating the Day of the Dead. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“Mexican Culture and American Culture: Celebrating the Day of the Dead.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
Mexican Culture and American Culture: Celebrating the Day of the Dead. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Mar. 2024].
Mexican Culture and American Culture: Celebrating the Day of the Dead [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2024 Mar 3]. Available from:
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