“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion,”
– Hosea 13:14
God has promised through his prophets that his people will be delivered from the final death, to be resurrected into eternal life.
“Your dead will live; their bodies will rise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust! For your dew is like the dew of the morning, and the earth will bring forth her dead.”
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
– Romans 8:6
The Day of the Dead, also called Día de Los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, and in particular in the Central and Southern regions, and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere.
The holiday developed from the traditions of pre-Colombian cultures in the Aztecs. The Aztecs dedicated the festivities to a goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead.”
“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
– Exodus 20:3-4
The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual, and believed they came back to visit during the month-long ritual they celebrated as part of their Pagan religion.
Now, such practices have been secularized as “the Day of the Dead” in modern times.
The Spanish believed these rituals to be sacrilegious.
Today, people put on wooden skulls as masks and dance in honor of deceased relatives. Some of the practices people engage in currently as part of the day of the dead celebration, such as constructing altars, wearing skulls, bringing gifts of food and beverages, and more veered dangerously into the territory of idolatry.
But the problem that arises is that sometimes people pray to Pagan gods, try to contact spirits or give glory to the dead.
“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:14
As has happened to many Christian holidays, they have become both Paganized and secularized. The Day of the Dead now coincides with the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day, which celebrates those saints now heaven both known and unknown, and All Souls’ Day, the departed now in purgatory and not yet in heaven.
However, many feel the “Day of the Dead” is a way of bringing back ancient Pagan traditions to confuse the faithful, especially Catholics, and separating them from properly celebrating and focusing on these Christian traditions.
“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.”
In thinking about the above verse, give consideration to the very last line. Many of the pagan nations or communities that engaged in these abominable practices were wiped out.
Those that worshiped Ba’al, Bel, and Moloch, as well as the Incas and Aztecs, who sacrificed children and humans, were all driven out just as Scripture said they would be.
With that in mind, celebrating traditions such as the “Day of the Dead” that comes from the Aztecs is a major step backward and goes against the work of God to eliminate such societies and their practices.
We don’t need to venerate the dead. We only need to worship God and our Savior Jesus Christ. When Jesus comforted Martha and Mary, he told Martha about the resurrection from death into eternal life.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”
– John 11:25
The only way to heaven, the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6