The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world in other cultures. During this holiday family and friends gather together to pray for, remember and celebrate those who have passed away. Celebrated on November 1st, in connection with the Pagan Samhain holiday as well as the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2), Dia de los Muertos has been traced back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl.
The traditions of the Day of the Dead include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased including photos and memorabilia. This is done to encourage visits by the souls so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Families look at this celebration to remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.