Dia de Muertos, Oaxaca, Mexico 1989
Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, and in all other places where people of Mexican ancestry live.
It focuses on gatherings of family and friends to remember and pray for friends and relatives who have died. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually it was associated with October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christian celebration of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.
The three-day fiesta, which is similar to other culture’s festivities in order to honor the dead, is filled with marigolds – the flowers of the dead – sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, paper decorations, fruits, nuts and incense.
Families go to cemeteries to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives, and leave the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased as gifts at their graves.