Dia De Los Muertos Celebrates Death
Day of the Dead 2010 is Tuesday, Nov. 2. What is the holiday known as Dia de los Muertos and why is it celebrated?
Bummed that Halloween is over?
You don't have to be. Tomorrow is the Day of the Dead -- or Dia de los Muertos for those who know Spanish.
What is Dia de los Muertos?
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday commonly celebrated on Nov. 2 in Mexico and other Latin American countries. The main purpose is for family and loved ones to gather and celebrate the lives and spirits of their dearly departed loved ones.
Partying is common on Dia de los Muertos, though that's about all it has in common with Halloween. During the celebration, families set up altars dedicated to the deceased and decorate them with sugar skulls, marigolds and the departed's favorite foods and drinks.
Many historians believe Dia de los Muertos started with ancient indigenous cultures dating back 2,500 to 3,000 years. The holiday was celebrated during the ninth month of the Aztec calendar and the celebration lasted all month long. The Aztecs dedicated their annual celebration to the goddess known as "The Lady of the Dead."
Modern day customs
The Day of the Dead celebration has evolved over the years and the actual celebrations can vary from town to town. Modern-day traditions range from celebratory festivals featuring costumes, food and dancing to costumed children going door-to-door asking for sweets or toys.
American cities with large Mexican populations also hold events in honor of Dia de los Muertos. Tucson, Ariz. has hosted an All-Souls Procession since 1990. Several California cities hold festivals and events in honor of the day as well.
More holiday traditions