While most of us best associate this week with Halloween, there’s another spooky celebration happening: Day of the Dead. Although Day of the Dead events are held in various places around the world, from the US to Guatemala, the biggest festivities take place in Mexico. Despite its ghoulish similarities to Halloween, the Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 2nd, is unrelated to the October 31st holiday.
Based on beliefs passed down from the Aztec empire, Mexicans believe their dead loved ones are able to return home for this annual celebration. The Day of the Dead is therefore marked with (ahem) spirited music, food and drink, rather than sorrow.
Celebrations vary from place to place, but skeleton costumes, parades, along with marzipan coffins and candy skulls are often elements of the event. Loved ones also decorate altars (ofrendas) with flowers and mementos and cook the favourite foods of their departed to help them find their way home.