Every autumn the Monarch Butterflies go up North to the United States and Canada, come back to Mexico for the winter protection of the oyamel fir trees. The people welcome back the returning butterflies that they believe carry the spirits of their departed. The spirits are honored during Los Dias de Los Muertos.
Los Dias de Los Muertos, is a traditional Mexican holiday of honoring the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). Los Dias de Los Muertos is not a sad time, but instead a time of remembering and rejoicing.
The people dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies, and skeletons and then parade through the town carrying an open coffin. The corpse within smiles as it is carried through the narrow streets. The local vendors toss oranges inside as the march makes its way past their markets.
Lucky corpses can also catch flowers, fruits, and candies.
At home families arrange ofrenda's which we call altars that have flowers, bread, fruit, and candy. They add pictures of the diseased family members. They have special all night candles that they light in the afternoon. During this time it is a time to remember the departed, the old ones, and their parents, and grandparents.
The next day the families go to the cemetery. They come with hoes, picks, and shovels. They also carry flowers, candles, blankets, and picnic baskets. They go to clean the graves of their loved ones. The weed and rake the dirt smooth at the grave sites. The crypts are scrubbed and swept. They place colorful flowers, bread, fruit and on the graves. Some bring guitars and radios to listen to. The families spend the whole night...