Day of the Dead, Mexico - November
The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos in Spanish, is a holiday for friends and family who have died. On the face of it, you might think it's a somber occasion but it's actually a very colourful affair with traditional costumes and skeletal makeup. The belief is that the spirits of the dead return for one day to be with their families. Before colonisation by the Spanish, it was celebrated in the summer but now coincides with the Christian Allhallowtide observance of Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Offerings (ofrenda) of food, flowers (particularly Mexican marigolds), colourful sugar skulls and candles are laid out. Flowers to represent the transience of life and the candle light to guide the dead on their way back. Celebrations take place across Mexico, although this is more recent in northern Mexico, but Mexico City, Oaxaca and Pátzcuaro are particularly well known for their festivities. There are markets, music and parties in cemeteries.