…is today. So cheer up!

On the 31st of October, families create an ofrenda in their homes. Essentially an altar, the ofrenda is anoffering of love and respect for the souls of loved ones. Various traditions include placement of photos of the deceased, bread known as Pan de Muerte (Bread of the Dead), water, and other food items they might have enjoyed in life. Ofrenda have also been known to include clothing, and personal grooming items for the souls to freshen up with following their journey from the afterlife. There is always an abundance of flowers, known as cempasĂșchil, valued for their beauty as well as their pungent aroma.

Although variations are sometimes experienced in remote areas of Mexico, popular belief is that the souls of children
arrive home first, on the evening of October 31st. Los Angelitos, spirits of those who passed away as children, are greeted with their favorite food and toys. The food is generally simple and not very spicy. In some traditions, there is a candlelit procession that takes place leading from the cemetery to the center of the village guiding the souls of the children home.

The souls of the adults arrive on November 1st and are given an elaborate offering of the best food and drinks available to the families. Cooked dishes include chicken or turkey mole, tamales, biscuits, and candied fruits. Salt is provided for flavoring. Also, odor is important. The ancient copal incense has been used throughout the centuries, and the pleasant aroma of food is also an incentive for the dead to find their way home. MORE

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