The Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most important festivals. Although preparations can take weeks, it’s well worth the long wait, as the show that follows is truly spectacular.
The participants are firmly convinced that the elaborate rituals that they meticulously perform to honor their deceased loved ones help them into the afterlife and encourage them to visit our world for one night.
Día de los Inocentes
November 1 is Día de los Inocentes or Angelitos because then deceased children are honored, while the second day of the festival is reserved for the deceased adults.
One of the reasons for the epic scale and momentous importance of this festival is that for the Mexicans, death is not the end of one’s journey, but rather a new beginning.
The celebrations of Día de los Muertos typically include graveside vigils, at which altars honoring the deceased person’s life are erected.
However, many Mexicans also construct more secluded altars in the privacy of their homes.
An Altar Decorated with Mexican Marigold
These altars are usually decorated with cempasúchil (Mexican marigold) flowers and candles, as well as skull images in some shape or form, and ofrendas (offerings) such as the deceased’s personal possessions, favorites drinks or foods.
Thus, packets of cigarettes, cans of Coke and even football jerseys can be observed on a Day of the Dead altar!
These belongings are supposed to encourage the deceased person to temporarily return to the world of the living, even if it’s just for one night.