Children bite into crisp sugar skulls. People dressed as skeletons dance down the streets. Cemeteries light up with the warm glow of candles. It’s November 1, the start of the two-day Day-of-the-Dead celebration in Mexico.

The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31- November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 1 is “el Dia de los Inocentes,” or the day of the children, and All Saints Day. November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours. The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2.

On this day, many Mexicans believe that the spirits of the dead return to visit their homes. Processions are held through towns. Families and friends gather in cemeteries and clean and decorate gravesites with flowers to welcome the spirits.

People picnic together and enjoy such special foods as sugar skulls and breads baked with a plastic skeleton hidden in them. It is a time when people remember the dead and celebrate life.

You can make a Day-of-the-Dead decoration out of self-hardening clay.

Roll one colour of clay into an egg shape about the size of your fist. Lay it on its side and push down gently so that it has a flat bottom. Gently mould it use a pencil to make holes for the face. Decorate the skull with different colours of clay. Let the skull dry one or two days on a wire rack. When the skull is hard, display it on a windowsill.

Picture Credit : Google