Mexico—Los Dias de los Muertos (the days of the dead), sugared skulls and other delights


The Mexican Days of the Dead Festival shares some of its origins with Halloween. And some of the practices today are also similar, from decorating with pictures of skeletons, to ghoulishly shaped sweets. The Aztecs’ Festival of the Dead went on for nearly two months in which the fall harvest was celebrated and death was honored. Aztecs and Mayans both believed that one day of the year the souls of the departed would return to the realm of the living, where they could visit their families and loved ones.


Families place photographs of their loved ones who have passed on at the deceased’s gravesite or on a family altar. They also place offerings of flowers, drinks and food alongside the photographs. This ritual is particularly important for those who have been lost in the year since the previous festival. Sweets, fruits, and other foods are joined by the staples: bread, salt, and water. Grooming supplies, such as a washbasin and soap, are provided for the spirits to tidy themselves after their long journey.