Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead
"Dia de los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" is a two-day festival celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1 and 2. Families and towns create elaborate altars for their deceased loved ones. On these altars they place photographs of their loved ones, their favorite foods, flowers, and candles. They also decorate these altars with "calaveras"--skeletons depicting the dead doing the activities they used to do when they were alive.
The rituals of Dia de los Muertos express the strong bond between loved ones, a bond that even death cannot destroy. In Catholic terms, we can call this intimate union between the living and the dead the "communion of saints." Many families and churches have adapted this Mexican tradition to remember and pray for the dead. Some churches invite parishioners to bring pictures of their dead loved ones to place on a side altar throughout the month of November. In one parish I worked in, we also invited the parish to celebrate evening prayer at the end of Christ the King Sunday--the end of the liturgical year and near the end of November--during which they shared stories of their loved ones. In the context of these "end times" we recalled the promise of resurrection that Christ the King upon the cross gave to all who believed in him.
Here are some "Day of the Dead" resources for you.
A article in Spanish by Lupita Vital on the Day of the Dead.
A beautiful website with lots of pictures and examples of the Day of the Dead rituals. Includes recipes, poems, and explanations of the rituals.
Same website above in Spanish.