The key difference between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos is that the original purpose of Halloween was to frighten away the evil spirits, whereas the original purpose of Dia De Los Muertos is to honour, celebrate and remember the departed loved ones.
Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos are two festivals that fall in the month of October. Although the celebrations look alike, the purposes are different. These two festivals have now become famous fun festivals around the world, especially Halloween.
What is Halloween?
Halloween is a festival celebrated on the 31st of October. It is celebrated in most European countries and North America on the eve of the All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Day, which is the day before the Western Christian feats of All Saints. This starts the season of Allhallowtide. Allhallowtide lasts for three days and ends with All Souls’ Day. Halloween is also identified by names like All Hallows Eve, Allhalloween, or All Saints’ Eve.
It is considered that Halloween originated from a festival named Samhain, which was celebrated by Celts of ancient Ireland and Britain. People believed that during this festival period, souls of the dead people visited their homes while those who died within the year began their journey to the otherworld. Celtic people set up bonfires to frighten away the evil spirits and wore masks so as not to be identified by the ghosts who were believed to be present. In this way, Halloween creatures such as demons, witches, goblins and others emerged. Though this festival began as a Catholic celebration, now it is world-famous as a fun festival, especially for kids.
During Halloween, people wear costumes that frequently look like skeletons, mummies, witches, scarecrows and pumpkins; they wear masks, carve pumpkins into Jack o’lanterns, play pranks, light bonfires and tell scary stories. Food items such as candy, pumpkin pies, cookies that are shaped like pumpkins, skulls, ghosts, caramel and candy apples and apple cider are popular during Halloween.
What is Dia De Los Muertos?
Dia De Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday and festival celebrated from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. It is also known as The Day of the Dead. On this day, Mexican families welcome the spirits of their dead relatives for a celebration with food and drinks. Some consider it as the Mexican version of Halloween since both celebrations look similar, with their iconic costumes, masks, and parades.
Dia De Los Muertos is considered a mixture of Mesoamerican rituals, Spanish culture and European religion. It has a 3000-year-old history. Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated by the Mexicans and those with Mexican heritage in the US and around the world.
According to Mexicans, the gates of heaven will be opened at midnight on the 31st of October for 24 hours, and the spirits of the deceased children can join their relatives. On the 2nd of November, the spirits of the adults do the same. This happens because the border between the real world and the spirit world is believed to be dissolved on this day. To welcome them, the living people make their dead relations’ favourite food and drinks and keep them at the graveyards or in ‘ofrendas’ made at their homes. Living people treat those spirits not only with food and drinks but with music, dancing and parades as well.
What is the Difference Between Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos?
Halloween is a festival celebrated on the 31st of October, while Dia De Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday and festival celebrated from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. The key difference between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos is that Halloween is to frighten away the evil spirits while Dia De Los Muertos is to honour, celebrate, and remember the departed loved ones.
The following table presents the difference between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos in more detail, in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Halloween vs Dia De Los Muertos
Halloween is a festival celebrated on the 31st of October. Though it has a Pagan and Christian origin and was earlier celebrated in Europe and North America, now it is celebrated worldwide as a fun festival. This is celebrated on the eve of All Saints’ Day to frighten away evil spirits. On this day, people make various food items, especially using pumpkin and candy, and wear masks and costumes which represent skeletons, ghosts, witches and other scary beings. Dia De Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday and festival celebrated from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. Some people consider this as the Mexican version of the Halloween festival, but unlike Halloween, this is a celebration to welcome the deceased loved ones. Living people make various food items and drinks, especially those that are favourite of the deceased and serve them in their graveyards. This is a summary of the difference between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos.
1. “Pumpkin-halloween-autumn-october” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Dia, de, los muertos, day, dead, couple costumes, man, woman” (CC0) via Piqsels