The Day of the Dead has been growing in popularity. Initially, it was celebrated in only a few regions of Mexico. It has spread to other Latin American countries and areas of the United States with a large Mexican population. In Brazil, the celebration is called Finados.
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Because the Day of the Dead is now rather wide-ranging, it is tough to come up with a common phrase that most people use during this celebration in late October and early November. Additionally, some people say that since the holiday is meant for the deceased, there is no proper greeting to speak to the living.
We know this doesn’t help you, because you clicked on this link to learn appropriate phrases to say on the Day of the Dead. You may even have a box of blank Day of the Dead greeting cards in front of you to send out to your family and friends, and you want to know what sentiment to write inside. It also doesn’t help you craft a perfect social media post on this special day.
So even though these suggestions have nothing to do with tradition, they are still lovely sentiments to share with others commemorating the lives of their loved ones.
Day of the Dead Greetings for Cards
Many Day of the Dead greeting cards are decorated with elaborately designed skeletons, crosses, and images of cemeteries. Some are blank inside and simply say “Day of the Dead” on the front.
Here are some thoughts to consider writing on the inside of the Day of the Dead cards.1. “Thinking of you as you celebrate the life of your wonderful mother.”
Since the Day of the Dead is set aside to commemorate the lives of those who have gone before us, it makes sense that you would call out one specific life when sending a card to a friend.2. “Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep.” —Mary Frye
If you know anything about the Day of the Dead, you know that it is a celebration. While there may be tears shed when sharing poignant memories of the deceased, overall, it is a time for dancing, feasting, and drinking.3. “I hope you enjoy the Day of the Dead celebration.”
In some cultures, placing the words “enjoy” and “dead” in the same sentence may sound awkward. But those who attend Day of the Dead events would call them “festivities.” If you’ve never been to Day of the Dead events before, this may be one of the hardest things to grasp.4. “There is more time than life.”
There is an underlying belief in most Day of the Dead events that the deceased’s spirit is still alive. That’s why the saying “there is more time than life” is an appropriate greeting to write on a card.5. “Greetings to You on the Day of the Dead.”
Sometimes “greeting” cards are simply excuses to “greet” or say “hello” to friends and family. They may not hold any special instructions. Just as you could send a card with a bunny on it that says, “Greetings to You on Easter,” you could also send a card with a skull on it that says “Greeting to You on the Day of the Dead.”
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Day of the Dead Greetings to Say Face-to-Face
Those who have attended Day of the Dead celebrations describe them as large parties. Here are some things you may hear at these unique celebrations.6. “Feliz día de los Muertos.”
Those who passed at least one semester of high school Spanish should be able to figure out that this phrase translates to “Happy Day of the Dead!” Although you can purchase cards with this phrase on the front, it is not clear whether or not people actually say this at Day of the Dead festivities.7. “Trick or Treat”
The American practice of trick or treating has made its way into some Day of the Dead celebrations, so you may hear “trick or treat” when attending the festivities.8. Calaveritas
Literary calaveritas refer to rhyming poems that are written specifically for the Day of the Dead. These Day of the Dead poems are usually mocking verses and can be written about one’s self, friends, living politicians, or famous people of the day. You may hear calaveritas being recited at Day of the Dead celebrations.9. “He’s no longer suffering.”
Don’t forget. At its heart, the Day of the Dead is a day to commemorate those who are deceased. As you consider the life of someone recently past, you may share positive, heartfelt messages that will remind the mourner that death isn’t the “end.”10. “Do you remember . . .”
Those who attend Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day celebrations say that attendees are encouraged to share memories of those who have passed. This is a lovely way to keep a person’s memory alive.
Day of the Dead Greetings for Social Media
It is now common for people to commemorate death anniversaries and the birthdays of the deceased on social media. Similarly, you could also send Day of the Dead Greetings on Facebook or Instagram. Consider posting one of the following.11. “Memories Keep Us Alive”
Post this saying along with the traditional image of a dancing skeleton on the Day of the Dead. Hopefully, this message will remind others that it is important to share special memories about the deceased, especially to the younger generation.12. “Thinking of my dad today.”
You may post a photograph of a recently-deceased family member on the Day of the Dead. This simple statement can accompany that image. You may want to add the hashtag #DayoftheDead to help people make the connection.13. “Whose life do you celebrate today?”
Ask your social media followers to interact with you by asking whose life they remember on the Day of the Dead. Encourage others to post photos and share memories of the deceased to have a virtual celebration.14. “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” —Haruki Murakami
Although this quote would be more satisfying to share if a Spanish-speaking writer stated it, this sentiment describes the Day of the Dead in a nutshell.15. “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” —Jack Lemmon
One thing that we love about the Day of the Dead is that the deceased are still treated like members of the family. This concept is not prevalent in every culture.
What Do You Say on The Day of the Dead?
If you have attended a Day of the Dead ceremony, what phrases did you hear? Did people greet each other with “Happy Day of the Dead!”? While this may be an appropriate greeting, it may sound strange to have “happy” and “dead” appear so close together in the same sentence.
Whether you celebrate Day of the Dead or Memorial Day, how do you remember the family members you have lost? Do you continue traditions that were important to them? Do you cook foods the way they liked them prepared? Do you place flowers on your loved one’s grave or spend the anniversary of their death volunteering? Do you share memories of your loved one with other members of your family?
There are a lot of different ways to commemorate the lives of those who have passed. It seems that the Mexican version of remembering the deceased is the most fun.
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Want to learn more about Day of the Dead? Read our guide on how it"s celebrated at Noche de Altares in Santa Ana, CA.