UPDATED April 19th, 2018
For many Latinos, the Day of the Dead, or El Día de Los Muertos, is celebrated as religiously as the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Festivities begin at midnight on October 31. November 1 is believed to be when children who have passed can return to be with their families for 24 hours, while on November 2 we honor the adults who have died. Far from a ghoulish holiday, El Dia de Los Muertos is a time to remember the departed and to celebrate their lives. As Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”
Traditionally, families honor the dead by gathering at home or at the gravesites and serving the favorite foods of the departed at the graveside or leaving it as an offering. The belief is that the spirits of the departed need food and drink to sustain them in their travels between this world and the next. Although it’s best known as a Mexican holiday, El Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in throughout Latin America.
With that, here are 14 facts about the Day of the Dead to get you familiar with this unique tradition: