BREATHTAKING EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS PICTURES

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Day of the Dead is an uncanny holiday that draws on indigenous and European traditions, celebrated in central and southern Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day, the indigenous people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones.

Woman wearing traditional Dia de Los Muertos make-up
Woman wearing traditional Dia de Los Muertos make-up

They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

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In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds called cempasuchil & bright red cock’s combs) mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto.

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The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the angelitos, and on Nov. 2, cigarettes and shots of mezcal are offered to the adult spirits. Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls, purchased at open-air markets, provide the final touches.

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A young couple pose for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration in Morelia, Mexico.
A young couple pose for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration in Morelia, Mexico.
The parents of deceased child of Maria de Jesus Lopez stand next to her grave after lighting candles and placing flowers at the tomb of her daughter  during Day of the Dead festivities at the San Gregorio cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, late Saturday, Nov. 1. In a tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2, families decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds and candles, and spend the night in the cemetery, eating and drinking as they keep company with their deceased loved ones. At this cemetery, families pay a special tribute to children who have died. The following night, families keep vigil at the tombs of adults.
The parents of deceased child of Maria de Jesus Lopez stand next to her grave after lighting candles and placing flowers at the tomb of her daughter during Day of the Dead festivities at the San Gregorio cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, late Saturday, Nov. 1. In a tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2, families decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds and candles, and spend the night in the cemetery, eating and drinking as they keep company with their deceased loved ones. At this cemetery, families pay a special tribute to children who have died. The following night, families keep vigil at the tombs of adults.
A woman poses for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 in Morelia, Mexico.
A woman poses for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 in Morelia, Mexico.
A family member lights a candle on a child's grave during Day of the Dead festivities at the San Gregorio cemetery in Mexico City.
A family member lights a candle on a child’s grave during Day of the Dead festivities at the San Gregorio cemetery in Mexico City.
An old couple for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 in Morelia, Mexico.
An old couple for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 in Morelia, Mexico.
An altar of the Dead  set at the Olimpic University stadium dedicated to  Mexican Inpendence leader Jose Maria Morelos  on October 31, in Mexico city.
An altar of the Dead set at the Olimpic University stadium dedicated to Mexican Inpendence leader Jose Maria Morelos on October 31, in Mexico city.
An altar of the Dead  set at the Olimpic University stadium dedicated to  Mexican Inpendence leader Jose Maria Morelos  on October 31,  in Mexico city.
An altar of the Dead set at the Olimpic University stadium dedicated to Mexican Inpendence leader Jose Maria Morelos on October 31, in Mexico city.
Martin Vera, dressed in a traditional Aztec head dress, joins in the processessional parade during the Dia de los Muertos
Martin Vera, dressed in a traditional Aztec head dress, joins in the processessional parade during the Dia de los Muertos
A woman poses for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 In Morelia, Mexico.
A woman poses for pictures during the Catrinas contest as part of Day of the Dead celebration on October 31 In Morelia, Mexico.
A guest with a painted on sugar skull attends the HARD Day of the Dead Festival at Fairplex on November 1 in Pomona, California.
A guest with a painted on sugar skull attends the HARD Day of the Dead Festival at Fairplex on November 1 in Pomona, California.
 Stacy Waters and Rhoman wait to join the processional parade during the Dia de los Muertos
Stacy Waters and Rhoman wait to join the processional parade during the Dia de los Muertos

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Taryn Johnson poses for photos during the Dia de los Muertos
Taryn Johnson poses for photos during the Dia de los Muertos
A couple dressed for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration dances in the street  in Oklahoma City
A couple dressed for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration dances in the street in Oklahoma City
Adrina Trejo and Moses Duran pose for photos at an ofrenda during the Dia de los Muertos
Adrina Trejo and Moses Duran pose for photos at an ofrenda during the Dia de los Muertos

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Families decorate a relative's grave with flowers at a cemetery in Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan State, Mexico on November 1, 2015 during the commemoration of Mexico's All-Saints' Day.
Families decorate a relative’s grave with flowers at a cemetery in Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan State, Mexico on November 1, 2015 during the commemoration of Mexico’s All-Saints’ Day.

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A reveler places a candle during a Day of the Dead party on November 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazilians often mark the traditional Mexican holiday by visiting loved ones' graves and sometimes leaving offerings of food or drink. The day officially falls tomorrow in Brazil and is a national holiday
A reveler places a candle during a Day of the Dead party on November 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazilians often mark the traditional Mexican holiday by visiting loved ones’ graves and sometimes leaving offerings of food or drink. The day officially falls tomorrow in Brazil and is a national holiday

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Keith Porter shows off his costume during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration,  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Officials were trying to break a world record for people dressed as "La Calavera Catrinas" and "Catrins".  The world record for the most in one place is 509 by Mexico City.
Keith Porter shows off his costume during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Officials were trying to break a world record for people dressed as “La Calavera Catrinas” and “Catrins”. The world record for the most in one place is 509 by Mexico City.
Ben and Kayle Kissler wait for the processional parade during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, November 1 in Oklahoma
Ben and Kayle Kissler wait for the processional parade during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, November 1 in Oklahoma

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Woman wearing traditional Dia de Los Muertos make-up
Woman wearing traditional Dia de Los Muertos make-up

PHOTO CREDIT: CARLOS NAVARRO / MARIA CALLS / PEDRO GONZÁLEZ CASTILLO / MARIO TAMA ENRIQUE CASTRO / J. PAT CARTER / REBECCA BLACKWELL / BRIAN FEINZIMER / ESTEBAN FELIX

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