I have issues with commandeering the traditions of other cultures and perhaps bastardizing those practices. However, I also feel that if one makes the effort to understand the
history and purpose of any cultural icon or activity and wants to join in - then do it with gusto and sincerity!!
This celebration has origins in prehispanic Mexico.
Ancestors were remembered and included in the daily life of communities. Many religious beliefs intersected to form traditions around death and the souls of the dead in the afterlife. These traditions included beliefs that the dead returned to
visit family members and friends in order to help them, give them advice, and even to reprimand them. When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico ancient customs were mixed with Christian beliefs and the Day of the Dead was celebrated on the Christian calendar
on November 1st and 2nd - All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
It is believed that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31st and the spirits of deceased children
are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2nd the spirits of adults come to enjoy the gifts prepared for them.
The Day of the Dead is celebrated
throughout the Catholic world, but specifically in central and southern Mexico. Families create alters, or ofrendas, in their houses and guide the spirits of ancestors, family, and friends, with paths of flower petals to these alters.