Dia de los Muertos, translated to Day of the Dead, is an annual holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico on November 1 and November 2. It coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, both Catholic holidays; however, locals have combined those holidays with their ancient beliefs of honoring all of their deceased loved ones.
According to beliefs, heaven’s gates open up at midnight on Halloween. Then, the spirits of all deceased children reunite with their families for a period of 24 hours. When November 2 comes around, spirits of deceased adults descend from heaven to enjoy various things that have been prepared for them.
Typically, beautifully decorated altars are found in each home. They contain candles, fruit mounds, buckets of flowers, tortilla stacks, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, and special breads referred to as pan de muerto. Toys and candles are left for children, while cigarettes and mezcal shots are left for adults. Finishing touches are provided by small folk art skeletons and sugar skulls.
The holiday itself is rather expensive, especially since many families who celebrate it are indigenous, self-sufficient, and live in rural environments. In fact, they spend more than two months worth of income just so they can honor their deceased relatives. According to their beliefs, happy spirits will provide protection, wisdom, and good luck to all families.
During the afternoon of November 2, festivities of various types are held at a cemetery. This involves activities such as:
*Listening to a village band
*Reminiscing about loved ones
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