Dia de los Muertos is celebrated by millions in Mexico and in the United States. Some keep the tradition of honoring family loved ones who have passed away while others get together with friends during festivals.

Keeping the tradition

Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead has deep meaning for many and during this time they honor a family member who has died by decorating a shrine in their memory. Photos and the person's favorite items are used to adorn the altar. Many are placed inside the home or grave sites are decorated. Food is another feature used in the shrine and the deceased favorite foods are part of the decorations.

The custom of an altar dates back for centuries. It is said that an altar has three components or tiers. Each tier represents different periods of time including the past, present and portal, which is the way the deceased person can communicate with those still living on earth.

Also the ofrenda or altar should consist of four elements – earth, water, fire and air (wind). Earth can be represented by flowers, water or holy water for second element, candles are used for fire and incense is usually used for air or wind.

Just having fun

For others, Dia de los Muertos is just a way to celebrate with friends and have a good time. Festivals are a big hit with food and drinks, including Coronas or any other alcoholic beverages. Streets are blocked off for parades and other activities such as face skull painting, pinata contest and sugar skull making are a variety of ways some celebrate.

Whichever way an individual chooses to celebrate, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a way to connect with loved ones who are no longer with us. So have fun this Dia de los Muertos and know that those who are gone still watch over us.