The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout the country and the 2nd of November each year marks the end of DÍa de Muertos festival, a time of celebration and remembrance of friends and family who have died and embarked on their spiritual journey through the afterlife.
The Day of the Dead celebration is not a Mexican version of Halloween and is not supposed to scare anyone. Though slightly related, the Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of colour and life-affirming joy as opposed to Halloween which is a dark night of terror and mischief.
The Day of the Dead originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people, the centrepiece of the celebration is an altar, or ofrenda, built in private homes and cemeteries. These aren’t altars for worshipping; rather, they’re meant to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. On these alters families place food on the alters for their loved ones, food such as sweet bread and sugar skulls which are part of a sugar art tradition brought by 17th-century Italian missionaries. Pressed in moulds and decorated with crystalline colours, they come in all sizes and levels of complexity.
Day of the Dead is an extremely social holiday that spills into streets and public squares at all hours of the day and night. Dressing up as skeletons is part of the fun. People of all ages have their faces artfully painted to resemble skulls to celebrate the return of their loved ones.
Find out more in the video below.