Day of the Dead or “Día de los Muertos” is an event that is commonly celebrated throughout the central and southern regions of Mexico. It is a celebration of deceased loved ones as their souls are welcomed back to Earth for twenty-four hours. This tradition is thousands of years old, dating back to the pre-Aztecs. Day of the Dead is celebrated with food, rituals and flowers. That’s right, flowers are used during Day of the Dead as a guide for souls looking to find their families. This is because of their vibrant and beautiful colors and decadent scent that flowers are a key component to this celebration. More specifically, the marigold or “flor de cempasúchil” is a popular flower for this celebration as its notorious musky smell is strong enough to lead souls to their families. Though marigolds are popularly used for Day of the Dead, there are plenty of other flowers that are used to decorate during the celebration for a variety of reasons!
Marigold: Marigolds are known for their musky smell and vibrant colors that flourish in the fall time. They’re an easy choice as they are beautiful and fairly inexpensive to cultivate. Besides their beauty, many of the flowers used during Day of the Dead have symbolism that makes them popular choices for commemorating deceased family members. Historically, marigolds are known to ward off evil spirits and symbolize positive energy and are referred to as the “Flower of the Dead.” Marigolds usually range from oranges to yellows as they are often compared to the sun (or light) to guide during Day of the Dead!
Chrysanthemums: Mum are a widely utilized flower during Day of the Dead as well. They represent friendship, trust, and optimism. More specifically, white mums are commonly used for this holiday. Their pure white petals and earthy scent is enjoyable on its own, but commonly white mums are used to decorate during the celebration because they represent purity and trust.
Baby’s Breath: Baby’s Breath is a classic accent flower, especially during Day of the Dead. These flowers are small and simple, but that doesn’t take away from their beauty. They’re a classic staple to bouquets and arrangements as they add a pop of color, and accent other flowers, such as marigolds! Their pure white petals in contrast to a marigold’s vibrant yellow and orange petals create a wonderful spectacle to the eye! These flowers are perfect for Day of the Dead as they represent everlasting love.
Cockscomb: Lastly, Cockscomb is a popular flower used during Day of the Dead as they are a vibrant red and used primarily as a religious symbol, as it’s referred to as the “Blood of Christ.” These add a beautiful pop of color to floral arrangements and withstand the hot heat for eight weeks!