This Mexican tradition is a beautiful way to remember loved ones who have died. It is associated with Halloween (in the United States), and All Saints or All Souls Day, in Mexico, and around the world. It is also celebrated as a holy day in the Catholic church.
The beauty of the holiday is that family and friends gather to pray for, and remember those who have died. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.
The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and comments of the living directed to them. Orange Mexican Marigolds are the flowers most often used in the celebration, as they are believed to attract souls of the dead to the offerings.
Because I live in New Mexico, the tradition is alive and well, and I am fascinated by it! Two years ago my model Harmony, dressed up in appropriate makeup and dress, and we went to the Dia de los Muertos parade in Albuquerque.
I would say close to half of the people at the parade were dressed in Day of the Dead costumes, and although the parade was not exactly what I had hoped it to be, we had a good time. Perhaps I will attend the celebration this year, as I now have a close experience with death. I am trying to learn to celebrate my dad's life, as I still muddle through the grief of losing him.
"Dia de los Muertos"