Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is originally a Mexican festival, where it is a public holiday. It is celebrated throughout Mexico during the first two chilly days of November. It is also celebrated by the people of Mexican ancestry living elsewhere, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. It symbolizes love and respect for the ancestors, and the values of family relationship and bond for the community.
Even though it coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s Day & All Saint’s Day, the indigenous people have combined them together with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased friends and family members. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at the midnight on the 31st day of October, and the spirits of all deceased children come down to the earth to reunite with their families for twenty four hours. Next day, the All Souls Day, on the 2nd November, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are specially prepared for them.
On that day the families visit the cemetery to clean and decorate the graves and tombs of their beloved relatives, and celebrate the day with the village band and remembrance about their loved ones, who passed away.
During the festival, most of the families build special altars, known as Ofrenda, and decorate them with candles, buckets of flowers with wild marigolds called cempasuchil, and bright red cock’s combs, mounds of fruit, peanuts, sugar skulls, stacks of tortillas, plates of turkey mole, and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. They believe that, in this way they can make the spirits happy and the happy spirits of the ancestors will protect them from the evils, bring good luck and bless them for the peace, happiness and prosperity.