Day Of the Dead
Dia de los Muertos • Mexico

From: Mexico Festivals and Events 2016-2017

See also: New Years EveChristmas

Day Of The Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
This annual event takes place over two days with the first day known as All Souls Day or Day of the Innocents (Dia de los Inocentes) which is generally in honour of young infants and children who have passed away. It is on the second day also known as All Saints Day (Dia de To dos los Santos) or Day of The Dead that adults who have passed away are honoured.

The Day of the Dead is a chance for family and friends to get together to remember their loved ones, often visiting the grave sites and taking gifts of sweets and flowers as well as celebrating privately in the home with alters dedicated in honour of the deceased.

It is traditional for gravestones to be cleaned up during this time and for gifts to be at the gravestones of loved ones. Gifts left often include the marigold flower whose colour beautifully decorates gravestones and shrines as well as sugar skulls known as calaveras de azucar which are often very detailed and colourful and are thought to be a symbol of both death and rebirth. Other gifts left are often more personnel items for each individual and it is thought that the gifts attract the souls back to visit.

It is not uncommon in some parts of Mexico for families and friends to visit the site at night often staying for several hours, reading poems or amusing anecdotes.

The Day Of The Dead is known to have been part of the Aztec calendar which was celebrated during the month of August and dedicated to the Goddess of the Dead.

Date Of All Saints Day
Both events take place annually with All Souls Day taking place on the 1st of November and All Saints Day taking place on the 2nd November.

The Day of the Dead celebrations take place throughout Mexico but are particularly impressive within Oaxaca, in Mexico's southwest.

Travel Guide
The Capital Oaxaca de Juarez is about 170 miles northwest of Salina Cruz and 235 miles south of Veracruz and can be reached by plane to Oaxaca International Airport (OAX) or by long distance bus or car.