Day of the Dead is known to many as a celebration that takes place in Mexico. The focus of the holiday is gathering family and friends to celebrate loved ones who have died. Many traditions are included during the two- day celebration. Some of these traditions are the decorating of altars, visiting grave sites of lost loved ones, and the making of sugar skulls.
The building and decorating of altars has been a long- celebrated tradition associated with Day of the Dead. Janie Torres, of Fresno, a participant on Day of the Dead, speaks of her experiences:
As a small child, I remember the first experience I had with an ofrenda(altar). My mother and father had set up an ofrenda inside our home. It was decorated with pictures of people I knew and some I did not. The ofrendawas covered with tissue paper, containers of water, candles, and food. I remember asking my mom what this was for. She explained that the tissue paper was the wind that would help carry the souls back home. The water was for the soul to drink because the journey was long. The candles were lit and were for each loved one we had lost. Torres. explained that orange marigolds would cover the ofrenda. These flowers were thought to attract souls of the dead.
Another tradition surrounding Day of the Dead is the decorating and visiting of a lost “loved ones” grave site. “I remember sitting at the cemetery surrounded by family,” says Patricia Villarreal, from Mexico City. “We would take food, drinks, and decorations to the cemetery. My family and I always cleaned and decorated my Grandpa Daniel and Aunt Juanita’s grave sites. My Uncle Juan would keep everyone laughing with his stories of Grandpa Daniel. Even though Patricia Villarreal is a grown woman with children of her own, her Day of the Dead traditions continue.
Mexico is not the only place you will find Day of the Dead Celebrations. Texas, Arizona, and California are a few other states where you could find a