The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life.
Dia de Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is a 2,000+ year-old tradition of celebrating the lives of the deceased. The holiday originated in Mexico, influenced both by indigenous Aztec tribes and later by Spanish colonizers, and it is commemorated annually in Mexico as well as communities in Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere.
From traditional Mexican foods and sweets to elaborate makeup and costumes to the ofrenda, or the altar honoring the departed, Dia de Muertos incorporates many meaningful customs as a way of keeping the memory of those who've passed on alive and to help them through their spiritual journey.
Indeed, it's believed that the dead wake up from their eternal sleep on Dia de Muertos to celebrate with their loved ones. Honoring them through this tradition ensures they know they're not forgotten. Another important thing to remember is that Dia de Muertos has nothing to do with Halloween, even though it's celebrated close to the holiday.
Here are 11 other facts you need to know about this ancient, beloved, and beautiful Mexican custom.