ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Day of the Dead Festival: an Introduction

Updated on January 25, 2012
Day of the Dead Festival, Peru.  All rights reserved.
Day of the Dead Festival, Peru. All rights reserved.

What is the Day of the Dead festival?

The Day of the Dead (or dia de muertos in Spanish) is a festival celebrated in many parts of Latin America and also in parts of the southern US where Latino culture is prevalent. The Day of the Dead falls on 2nd November each year, the Catholic holy day known as All Souls Day (Todos los Santos).

The Day of the Dead festival is celebrated above all in Mexico, where native Aztec beliefs about the souls of the dead mixed with the Catholicism brought by the Spanish conquistadores. Far from being a sad affair, the Day of the Dead is a colorful celebration of life, and of loved ones who have passed away.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated in many ways -by visiting relatives graves, with street parties, by building altars in your home, and by masks/facepainting to represent skulls.

Coming up in this article:

  • Day of the Dead facts
  • Where to find a Day of the Dead Festival
  • Introduction to Mexico's Day of the Dead
  • Celebrating Day of the Dead - useful links
  • Day of the Dead crafts

For background on the history of Day of the Dead you can read my article: History and Meaning of Dia de Muertos.

Day of the Dead Facts

  • Day of the Dead falls on 2nd November each year
  • The festival is a mixture of the Catholic holy day called 'All Souls Day' with indigenous traditions of maintaining contact with dead ancestors
  • The festival is a happy occasion - cemetaries across Latin America are filled with flowers and candles and people chatting to their dead relative's grave.
  • In Mexico, skulls are a common symbol during the festival - including skull masks, sugar skulls and skeleton figures called calaveras.

Where can I find a Day of the Dead festival ?

In Latin America the countries with the most vibrant celebrations for Dia de los Muertos are Mexico, Peru, Haiti and Brazil. Mexico is most well-known for its extravagant festivals, including sugar skulls, fancy dress, face-painting and the creation of Day of the Dead art work such as calaverva, catrinas and more. Traditions in Mexico often vary from town to town, and it is worth reading a good travel guide before you go if you want to catch the most colorful festivals.

In the United States, communities with a high proportion of Mexican immigrants tend to have traditional celebrations, while other cities are coming on to the idea more recently and choosing to celebrate in non-traditional ways. Texas and Arizona host traditional day of the dead festivals each year, whereas Los Angeles and San Francisco have been developing celebrations which are more of a cultural fusion.

Find Day of the Dead festivals in Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico, 12th Edition
Lonely Planet Mexico, 12th Edition
This is the best travel guide I know of for visiting Mexico. It contains detailed information on different day of the dead celebrations in different parts of Mexico.

Celebrating Day of the Dead: useful links

Here are a selection of interesting a well-written articles about Dia de Muertos:

Introducting Mexico's Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Crafts

Sunshine Joy Mexican Day of the Dead Tapestry - 60x90 Inches - Beach Sheet - Hanging Wall Art
Sunshine Joy Mexican Day of the Dead Tapestry - 60x90 Inches - Beach Sheet - Hanging Wall Art
Tapestry showing the 'dance of death' in traditional Mexican Sytle

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)