Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation's schools.
Many families celebrate a traditional "All Saints' Day" associated with the Catholic Church.
Originally, the Day of the Dead as such was not celebrated in northern Mexico, where it was unknown until the 20th century because its indigenous people had different traditions.
) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States.
It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures.
The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.
In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
in Anglophone countries, a back-translation of its original name, Día de Muertos.
It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday.
Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer.
Gradually it was associated with October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christian triduum of Allhallowtide: All Saints' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day.