El Dia de Los Muertos & All Souls Day
The Mexican tradition of El Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the dead) is celebrated each year in early November when the people of Mexico and Latino heritage gather in their local cemeteries to honor dearly departed loved ones and to celebrate the continuity of life. The Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2, though other days, such as October 31 or November 6, may be included depending. Traditions surrounding this holiday vary from region to region, but in many homes "ofrendas," or temporary alters, are constructed to bear flowers, bread, fruit, candy, cigarettes and even tequila as offerings for the dead. Handmade skeleton figures called "calacas" are also popular, as they depict a joyful afterlife.
October 31 is Halloween, 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.
The roots of celebrating and honoring the dead go back 3,000 years ago to pre-Columbian Meso-America.
The Day of the Dead vs. All Souls Day- In ancient Europe, pagan celebrations of the dead also took place in the fall, and consisted of bonfires, dancing and feasting. Some of these customs survived even after the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, which (unofficially) adopted them into their celebrations of two Catholic holidays, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, celebrated on the first two days of November.
In medieval Spain, people would bring bring wine and pan de ánimas (spirit bread) to the graves of their loved ones on All Souls Day; they would also cover graves with flowers and light candles to illuminate the dead souls’ way back to their homes on Earth.
Traditional Christian celebrations of All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1st to remember all saints and martyrs during Christian history. It is followed by All Souls' Day on November 2nd to commemorate those who have passed within the faith.