Traditionally , private altars called ‘ofrendas’ are built to honour the deceased and families visit the graves with gifts, aztec marigolds and the deceased’s favourite foods and drinks.
The Day of the Dead celebrations are thought to have been observed as long as 2,500-3,000 years ago and would typically last for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess “Lady of the Dead”. Nowadays, the festival is celebrated on the 2nd November.
José Guadalupe Posado was a Mexican political printmaker whose work influenced many Latin American artists. He used calaveras (skulls) and bones to make political and cultural critiques and is most famously known for creating “La Calavera Catrina”
Families and friends visit the cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and the intent it to encourage visits by the souls so that they hear the prayers and comments from the living.
Plans for the day are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the three-day period families usually clean and decorate graves with orange Mexican marigolds. These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. It is also believed the bright petals with a strong scent can guide the souls from cemeteries to their family homes.