Mexican Holidays
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How to Celebrate Dias de los Muertos

Los Dias de Los Muertos (November 1st and 2nd) is a Mexican holiday that combines aspect of Catholicism and Aztec beliefs to honor the dead. It is, contrary to what you may expect, a time for great rejoicing, celebration and feasting.

Construct altars in your home to your deceased relatives, if desired, with photographs and trinkets.

Use special candles at the cemetery that will burn all night.

zenpasuchitl: also known as cempasuchitl; an orange-gold marigold that is the flower of the dead.

1. Celebrate the deceased as they are celebrated in Mexico; construct a coffin and recruit a pretend "corpse" to lay in it. Parade around the house or through the streets, throwing fruit and candy to the corpse.

2. Continue until you reach the cemetery, or go to the cemetery the following day.

3. Clean and weed the gravestones of family members, and light a candle for each departed relative.

4. Lay out zenpasuchitls on the graves. These strong-smelling flowers are believed to help the dead find their way to the living world.

5. Serve the dishes your loved ones liked to eat, as well as pan de los muertos, marzipan skulls, coconut candy and skeleton cookies.

6. Stay up and feast all night in the cemetery, playing live music or listening to radios.

7. Dress up in scary costumes in the morning, such as ghosts and skeletons, and run around the cemetery to scare away any remaining spirits from this world.