Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead in Mexico is one of the most beautiful traditions in Mexico. This holiday which starts October 31 and ends November 2 focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed into other deep traditions in honor of the dead. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation’s schools. Many families celebrate a traditional “All Saints’ Day” associated with the Catholic Church.
It is an eventful and reflective time in Mexican culture. This is a very special time for families to remember and celebrate their loved ones who have passed away. It is believed that the gates of heaven open October 31, “All Saints Day”, so deceased children, called “angelitos”, can reunite with their families. Then, Day of the Dead, November 1, “All Saints Day”, is when spirits of adults come down to join the celebrations. November 2 is “All Souls Day”, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.