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Dia de los Muertos

By Tori Helman

Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the deceased. The Day of the Dead is a nationally celebrated holiday. The Day of the Dead takes place on November 1st and November 2nd. The holiday comes from the ancient civilizations of Mexico, who believed that once a year the dead returned to visit, eat, drink and be happy with their living family. When the Spanish arrived to Mexico they slightly changed the holiday so that deceased children are to be remembered on November 1st which is also All Saints Day. People put toys and colorful balloons on children’s graves. On the next day, November 2nd, they celebrate all the adults who have died, which is also All Souls Day. The adults would have displays of their favorite food and drinks put on their graves. They also have ornamental and personal belongings put on their graves. People will also put flowers on the deceased graves, particularly a certain type of marigold called zempasuchi, and they will put candles to help guide the spirits of the deceased home.

The Mexicans also make a lot of different foods for the Day of the Dead. One of the things that they make is called pan de muerto  which is an elaborately decorated coffee cake. The cake is decorated to look like bones. They also make skull-shaped candies, sweets, marzipan death figures, and papier mache skeletons and skulls. The food, candy, and other festive things are in stalls and shops by the middle of October. This is also when families make altars in their homes to honor the dead. Family members also clean up the gravestones of their relatives. 



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