Mexico, and Mexicans everywhere begin to prepare for Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that commemorates friends and family who have died. The celebrations take place on November 1st and 2nd, that align with the Catholic’s All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, respectively.
This is a big occasion in Mexico where altars are built in homes and in cemeteries with all the food and drink the departed used to enjoy, placed on the altar along with marigolds and personal mementos. The whole area is festooned with papel picado (colorful paper with cut-outs). Family and friends go to the cemetery to pray (and party) for the souls of the departed in hopes that the souls will return to hear the prayers being said for them. This is not a time for mourning because it is said that “the path back to the living world must not be made slippery by tears”.
Common symbols of the holiday are candy skulls, pan de muerto (bread of the dead, a sweet egg bread baked in to various relevant shapes), calaveras (skeletons) and Catrinas (a jauntily dressed female skeleton).
November 1st celebrates children that have died, Dia de los Angelitos, Day of the Little Angels. Toys are put on the children’s altars and/or graves.
November 2nd honors the adults that have died. Families that have gone to the cemetery to visit, bring picnic foods and spend the day there remembering their departed loved ones.
Here are a few photos I took a couple of years ago in the village of San Francisco (San Pancho) not far from Puerto Vallarta.