Which way of saying the Day of the Dead is correct: "Día de Muertos" or "El Día de los Muertos"?

I am making a display of pencil boxes for this holiday, and want to be correct in my verbiage. I have found it written both ways in a Google search, and am not sure what is correct. I had always heard it said as "El Dia de los muertos," but recently, I have seen it shortened to "Dia de Muertos."

  • @PabloTorrecilla, I don't know if you are being humoristic, but NO. "Dia de muertos" is a Mexican celebration and as such it's name shouldn't be changed by the region. "dia de muertos" is not the same as "dia de los fieles difuntos" or other catholic traditions even if they land on the same day
    – Mike
    Oct 18 '19 at 14:15

You can use both, but commonly in Spanish we say "El Día de los Muertos" if you want to use it in something like a post.

  • I think in Spain it is more usual to say Día de Difuntos.
    – Gorpik
    Oct 18 '16 at 10:51
  • O Dia de todos los Santos, al menos yo lo conozco por ese nombre.
    – David
    Oct 18 '16 at 11:45
  • 3
    @David técnicamente son días distintos: Todos los Santos es el 1 de noviembre, los fieles difuntos es el 2 de noviembre.
    – Rafael
    Oct 19 '16 at 1:42
  • @David, even if they fall on the same day, "dia de los fieles difuntos" and "dia de muertos" are two separate traditions
    – Mike
    Oct 18 '19 at 14:16
  • As a Mexican living in Mexico I DON'T agree that "el dia de los muertos" is the correct name of the day.
    – Mike
    Oct 18 '19 at 20:18

The actual name of the holiday is Día de Muertos. Nowhere in Mexico you will see it called or referred any other way.

Outside of Mexico, people erroneously use "Día de los muertos", the English back translation from its original, "Día de Muertos".

If your purpose is to educate, pass along and honor the tradition, then I would recommend that you use the correct name: "Día de Muertos".

  • this is actually a debate, but I agree that the correct name is "dia de muertos"
    – Mike
    Oct 18 '19 at 14:17
  • I can agree that "Dia de muertos" is the correct way to name the day, and "dia de los muertos" is a description of the day celebration. like "navidad" is the "dia de la natividad" or "dia del nacimiento de dios"
    – Mike
    Oct 18 '19 at 20:17

I am from México and we use both but "El día de los muertos" sounds too poetic to me, and "El día de muertos" is the normal way. But it's almost the same.

  • +1 for Mexico: it seems to me that @Kelli is refering to the Mexican celebration in specific, rather than the more general Catholic observance
    – Rafael
    Oct 19 '16 at 1:44

As a Mexican living in Mexico and traveled some states an can say the answer :

  • 1 Día de muertos is the name of the holiday
  • 2 El día de los muertos is a description of the holiday and can be used like this in a speech


¡Hoy es el día de muertos!

En el día de los muertos celebramos el regreso...

Personally I only use "Día de muertos"

Places where I have heard "Día de muertos"

  • Baja California
  • Sonora
  • Jalisco
  • Ciudad de Mexico

Where I have heard "día de los muertos"

  • Only in TV in the middle of a speech

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