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Video:How is Day of the Dead Celebrated?

with Ardis Campbell

The Day of the Dead is a large, two day celebration every year in Mexico with a number of attendant traditions. Here's a video explaining the most important ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead.See Transcript

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Transcript:How is Day of the Dead Celebrated?

Hi, I'm Ardis, and today for About.com, we are going to talk about how the Day of the Dead is celebrated.

Building Altars on the Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico that has its origins in indigenous Aztec and Meso-American cultures. There are many different celebrations and rituals that date back to these native peoples. One of the most notable rituals from Dia de los Muertos are the altars built for these spirits to invite them back home. People will place the spirit's favorite foods or pictures on the altar, and for a child's altar, they'll place toys. And, of course, for an adult's altar, there is always tequila to lure them back. Family members will gather around the grave sites of their lost loved ones. They will build altars on the site and celebrate the day in the cemetery. They eat their loved ones favorite foods, listen their favorite music and surround the grave with candles and marigolds.

Using Skulls on the Day of the Dead

Probably the most recognized ritual of this holiday that dates back to the Aztecs is the use of skulls. People will wear wooden skull masks called "calacas" and perform dances in honor of their lost loved ones. These wooden masks will then be placed on altars. There are often sugar skulls that have the names of the spirit written on the forehead that are then eaten by a family member. This dates back to Meso-American civilizations where the skulls of lost loved ones were kept and were symbols of death and rebirth.

And that is how the Day of the Dead is celebrated. Thank you for watching and for more information, visit us on the web at About.com.

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