Dia de los Muertos is the authentic name of the sacred holiday that non-Mexicans also know as Day of the Dead. It is celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day directly following Halloween. It is a part Catholic, part Aztec ritual celebrating the dead. The point is to celebrate their life rather than mourn their death. Activities with lots of food and drink as well as Day of the Dead costumes are part of the ceremonious occasion.
Day of the Dead Costumes
The costumes get their design from the candied calacas and calaveras which are skeletons and skulls that are made of sugar and painted in floral designs and bright colors. The juxtaposition is that the skulls always appear lively and happy. It is believed that the dead rise (in spirit) on Dia de los Muertos to be with their family and friends during their celebration. As an Aztec tradition it celebrated throughout Latin America. Americans with close ties to their Latin heritage also take part. Only since it became a popular themed Halloween costume did it catch on with mainstream America.