The Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a festival celebrating the reunion of dead relatives with their families, November 1st and 2nd.

Every year, on November 1st (All Saints Day) and 2nd (All Souls Day), something unique takes place in many areas of Mexico, as well as other countries where people of Mexican ancestry live: Day of the Dead festivities. (Some start the holiday on October 31st, All Hallows Eve.)

While it’s strange for most of us from other cultures to accept the fact that “death” and “festivities” can go hand-in-hand, for those who celebrate Die de los Muertos, the two are intricately entwined. This stems from the ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico (Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomi) who believed that the souls of the dead return each year to visit with their living relatives – to eat, drink and be merry, just like they did when they were living.

Probably the best-known symbols of the day are the many sugar skulls, skeletons, and sometimes-elaborate costumes with faces painted to look like skulls.

This is my favorite video for Dia de Muertos – it’s beautifully done, and really captures the spirit of the holiday. Spare a thought for your departed loved ones as you enjoy!