It's time to put away the pumpkins, folks. Another haunting Halloween has come and gone and before we know it, Santa Claus will be coming to town. But for now, a holiday that honors those who have passed away is here. Today marks the beginning of the Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de los Muertos.
The two day celebration began more than 3,000 years ago in Mexico and is observed annually on Nov. 1 and Nov 2. The occasion coincides with All Saints’ Day, observed on Nov. 1, and All Souls Day, observed on Nov. 2, Day of the Dead celebrations often include food, drinks and gifts to honor family and friends who have died.
Loved ones often make private alters, or ofrendas, in the home or at the grave which include elements of nature, water, wind and fire. The alters are adorned with photos, candles, flowers, favorite foods of the departed, small skulls (or caleveritas) and personal belongings of loved ones. It is believed that by remembering the dead, we ensure their lives will live on forever.
Candy skulls are a popular part of the Day of the Dead tradition. Because of the abundance of sugar in Mexico, sugar art has been a big part of Mexican festivals. Sugar skulls represent departed loved ones and are placed on the alter to honor the return of the spirit.