Day of the Dead
In Spanish: Dia de Muertos, Dia de los Muertos. Remembrance of the dead, traditionally observed on November 2nd, All Soul's Day. The celebration arose in Mexico; in contrast to the "monstrous" night of Halloween, Dia de Muertos is a loving remembrance of those who have passed, with altars called ofrendas bearing food offerings and pictures of the deceased. Traditional elements include consuming of sugar skulls (often with one's own name upon it) and calavera face painting to resemble skulls. The graves of family members are often decorated, and food shared at the cemetery. In the Pueblos, Day of the Dead is marked with night-long vigils and the cracking of whips and firing of guns at dawn to remind the dead to return to their rest. Public celebrations often are held on the Sunday closest to Nov. 2; Albuquerque's Muertos y Marigolds parade is the largest such celebration in New Mexico. Curiously, the Day of the Dead is little observed in southern New Mexico.