At Gossypia, we celebrate Día de los Muertos with an in-store celebration every year for our customers, featuring Day of the Dead refreshments, traditional music, and door prizes. Our event is unique to this area, along with our collection of handmade Latin American folk art, and we love bringing this celebration of life and death to Old Town each year. Many at the celebration will ask us, “What exactly is Day of the Dead?”
Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico are based on rituals among the pre-Columbian and Aztec peoples. Rituals celebrating deceased ancestors have been observed in pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico for as long as 2,500-3000 years. The Aztecs celebrated the goddess Mictecacihuatl each August, also known as “The Lady of the Dead”.
The Aztec and pre-Columbian cultures viewed death as a continuation of life, embracing death in a way that the Spaniards considered to be sacrilegious. When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they sought to combine this celebration with Catholic beliefs, which is the version of Día de los Muertos that we see today. Celebrated in most regions of Mexico today, the celebration has progressed to honor deceased loved ones from October 31- November 2.
During Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, celebrants visit cemeteries and build private altars (ofrendas) to their deceased loved ones, often decorated with favorite memorabilia, photos, sugar skulls and flowers, typically marigolds. People also will build ofrendas in their homes, which are often decorated with religious symbols such as Christian crosses and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe. La Calavera Catrina was a famous print created in the early 20th century picturing an upper-middle class female skeleton, which is seen often during Day of the Dead celebrations.
At Gossypia, we have dozens of Day of the Dead items, many of which are handcrafted in Mexico. You will find a unique collection of Latin American folk art here as well. We invite you to partake in our Día de los Muertos celebration, which will take place from October 29 through October 31 at Gossypia (409 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA). We will have traditional Day of the Dead refreshments to enjoy. This year, all purchases made between October 29-31 will be entered to win a $50 gift card.