Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday on which Mexicans around the world remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed.
Mexicans believe that the spirit of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2.
The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to its indigenous pagan cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years
The day focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.
In order to celebrate, the families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of food such as pan de muertos baked in shapes of skulls and figures, candles, incense, yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl (also spelled zempasuchil) and most importantly a photo of the departed soul is placed on the altar.
On Day of the Dead, many euphemisms or symbols are used for death, La calaca (the skeleton), la pelona (“baldy”), la flaca (“skinny”), and la huesada (“bony”). There are refranes, sayings, and poems that are popular with day of the dead.
In most of regions in Mexico, November 1 honor’s children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. Hence, November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) or Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”)