|All Souls' Day procession, Tucson, Arizona, 2008.|
I grew up in Southern California, where there is the largest population of Mexican-Americans in the United States. Los Angeles alone is home to over 1 million people of Mexican ancestry, with another 2 million throughout Los Angeles County, and a total of six million in the five-county Greater Los Angeles Area, so as you might imagine, my Spanish isn't so horrible and I know a thing or two about Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. [Stats from Wiki]
Today (November 1), however, is All Saints' Day, a Roman Catholic holy day commemorating known and unknown saints that leads up to All Souls Day (November 2), when the Catholic Church commemorates and prays for the holy souls in Purgatory, undergoing purification of their sins before entering heaven. [Churchyear.net]
Not to be mistaken with Halloween, traditions connected with the Día de los Muertos include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. [Wiki] Many families visit the graves of the dead to leave gifts and decorate it with flowers. I even know of some families that have lively and festive picnics at gravesites too.
|A woman prays for the dearly departed.|
Bueno, Bronson. Bueno.