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Calaveras and Marigolds: Celebrating Dia de los Muertos


Día de los Muertos, the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ holiday is celebrated annually from October 31st to November 2nd. During the 3-day-long festivities, family members celebrate loved ones who have passed away by bringing sugar skulls (Calaveras), marigolds as well as photographs to decorate family members’ graves with. Marigolds are used in these rituals because they are known as the ‘fior de muertos’ or flower of the dead. It is not uncommon for families to bring the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks to the cemetery as well.

It is specifically believed that children who have passed away come back to reunite with their families on November 1st, while adults reunite with their families on November 2nd. People go to cemeteries with the intent of spending time with the souls of the departed. This is seen to encourage visits by relatives who have long since passed. Celebrations tend to take a humorous tone, however, as family members reminisce about funny events and anecdotes about the departed, thus keeping the memories of loved ones alive long after they have moved on.


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