Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that honors family members who have died, is becoming more and more mainstream.
Day of the Dead, which blends Aztec and Catholic rituals, came to the United States from Mexico. Observers create makeshift altars to honor their deceased loved ones, offering food, liquor, and sentimental trinkets to the dead. The altars contain photos, flowers and sugar candy skulls as well.
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"This is about remembering the dead with fun instead of throwing them in a garden, crying and then forgetting them," Tom Bernardy told the Wall Street Journal, who was viewing a Day of the Dead altar
at Mission San Luis Rey.
Dorothy Petrich, 55, created a Day of the Dead display for her father John Finneran in the trunk of her 1940 Cadillac LaSalle for the Dia de los Muertos celebration.
"I'm sure my father's here and loving this," Petrich told the Journal of her altar display.
Day of the Dead lasts three days and begins on the evening of Halloween.
Levi Guerrero, 48, told USA Today that despite the holiday
's sudden popularity, not all traditional rituals have caught on.
He said one of the rituals, in which headstones are created from concrete and painted with bright colors, has declined because the bodies of relatives are often returned to Mexico.
"I remember staying one or two nights in the cemetery with my family and my mom," Guerrero said. "It is remembering good times with loved ones who have passed away."
Guerrero told USA Today after seeing Day of the Dead fade in his family, he recently brought back the celebration this past Saturday with a party that spread beyond his family.
"I thought about doing it for years, but I got caught up in Halloween," Guerrero said. "I did a party so I could explain" the customs of the day to his friends, he said. He said out of the 40 guests, just seven were Mexican-Americans.
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