Dia De Los Muertos: The Day of The Dead Exhibit

Where Does “The Day of The Dead” Origin Come From?

The “The Day of The Dead Exhibit” is an Aztecs – Mexican origin festival. This particular day has its origins in the Aztecs. It was united with the “All Saints Day” of Catholicism and officially became a celebration on 2 November.

The Day of the Dead, inherited from the Azteks to the Latinos, is an event owned by the whole Hispanic world. This day, which started in Mexico as its origin, explains the philosophy that believes that the dead are separated from us only on a symbolic order.

According to the Aztecs, when our relatives died, we did not leave us sadly and endlessly. Only on another plane was continuing their lives where they left off. This way of thinking, which contradicts the understanding of Catholicism, came to be blended with the post-colonial modern world and blended into the All Saints day. Not as scary as “Halloween” in the western world, this feast is about commemorating and celebrating the dead. This way of thinking, which does not include the Catholic afterlife, favors celebrating in an even more colorful and fun way than we celebrate our birth-days, rather than squeezing death into the funerals of the last time by wearing black.

Moreover, “The Day of the Dead” ritual combined with the festival culture in the modern world was instrumental in colorful scenes in the streets of Mexico and Latin America. Hispanic artists, who found a place in many museums in 2016, held parallel exhibitions in many art cities from Chicago to New Mexico. The artists are questioning the idea of death in Christianity in the Biennials they participated in, produced works with colorful fabric and costume works to spread the ideas and origins cultures that bless death instead of mourning a death.

Cultural Heritage and The Day of The Dead Feast

While featuring colorful make-up, different masks, and colorful costumes, this festival continued to attract attention and attract participants from all over the world. Celebrated with pride in California and Chicago, where Hispanics live, this festival has become the focal point of the creative world, from many participants and documentary teams to contemporary artists.

Photography by Nelda Costner , National Geographic

On “The Day of the Dead” day, crowds dancing on the street, listening to music, drinking, and eating, representing the dead with their ethnic and colorful costumes, broke the stereotypical perception of the western world’s death-black funeral.

Moreover, this event, which brings a different perspective to the birth, life, and death triangle, found its place in the Chicago Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Californian Museum in 2016. This particular day, remembered with other film screenings and contemporary artworks, turned into a permanent culture with Unesco, which considers the festival a cultural heritage. Art-ists such as Francisco Franco, John S. Huerta, Melissa Jazulin, and David Lozeau took part in the “The Day of The Dead” exhibition, with their contemporary interpretations, especially in the Californian Museum where Hispanics are abundant. (“Day of The Dead: Art of Dia De Los Muertos 2016.” Californian Museum)

Deaths are merely a transition from the symbolic order to the imaginary order. To cheerfully celebrate this day is a cultural heritage, which is very close to the original. However, it has spread to all of Latin America in the context of colonialism in conjunction with Catholic customs.

Ellen Fields, National Geographic

On the other hand, The “The Day of The Dead” feast, which has turned into a subject where many cultural theorists work overtime, actually reflected the “understanding of existence” of the Aztec culture to the western world as a top title that brings many philosophical issues.

Eventually, the entire Hispanic cultural industry continues to turn the streets into a colorful palette every year, with the support of the Latin people and the Unesco Cultural Heritage committee, who have a role in preserving and transmitting this heritage to all generations. This particular day, which is called an extraordinarily different and entertaining approach to death, provided the Western world’s efforts to make sense of existence by comparing it with different cultures. Perhaps death is not a jet-black end as the western world reads, but a colorful step forward as the Aztecs suggested.

References :

RESOURCE LIBRARY. “Dia de Los Muertos.” National Geographic, 17 Oct. 2012,

“DAY OF THE DEAD: ART OF DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS 2016.” Californian Museum, 25 Aug. 2016,

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