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Halloween Traditions



Halloween From Around the World
Halloween in Mexico

    In Mexico they have picnic lunches on the graves of their relatives. As this is a day of remembrance, happiness and celebration.

    They bake bread and make candy in the shape of skull and crossbones, a casket, or a skeleton.

    The children run through the streets with lanterns and ask for coins.

    People light bonfires, set off firecrackers, and hang lanterns on trees to guide the souls of the dead home.

    In Mexico All Saints' Day is devoted to Los angelitos - that is, all the dead children. This is a prelude to November 2's Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, a national holiday on which all the grown-up ghosts will be arriving in full force. The littler ghosts get a head start. To help them find their way back to the homes where they once lived, parents and still-living family members often shoot off firecrackers. In some parts of the country on this night they strew a path of flower petals from the graveyard to the front porch.

    Mexico's Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead calls for happy all day picnics beside the graves of dead relatives. At home, people assemble little altars called ofrendas, stocked with the departed loved ones favorite foods and drinks, their photos, and other memories, as well as candles and pungent marigolds, a flower long associated with death.

    The Mexican custom of Erecting Day of the Dead altars has caught on north of the border, where the altars serve as the focus of ancestor rituals and memorials.

    In Mexico October 27 is the Feast of the Holy Souls or Fiesta de las Santas Animas, families begin the fiesta by cleaning their relatives' graves and adorning them with pine needles and flowers. The families assemble a temporary altar near the gravesite, stocking the altars with candles and all kinds of foods such as meat, beans, chilies, salt, tortillas, fruit and sometimes alcohol. Each person in the family then takes turns in talking to the departed spirit, offering it the food and assuring it that it is loved. The ceremonies go on for several days, as every family has more than one grave to attend to.

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