The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world in many different cultures. The purpose of the holiday is to get together with family and friends to remember those who have passed away. In the majority of Mexico, November 1 is dedicated to honor children and infants, while on November 2 adults are honored. It coincides with the Catholic holidays All Saints' Day and All Souls Day which are celebrated at the same time.
Families often build altars containing favorite foods, beverages, photos, and keepsakes of those who have passed and visit their loved ones cemetery. During this time families will also often clean and decorate the graves with offerings, such as flowers. Those in attendance will pray and recall memorable events that occurred with the departed. The common symbol of the holiday is a skull, which participants often portray with masks.
With the Day of the Dead beginning on November 1st, it draws many connections with its neighboring holiday Halloween. While both Halloween and Day of the Dead have similarities in the commemoration of the dead, they stem from opposite sides of the world. While Halloween links back to pagan Celtic harvest festivals, the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico trace back to indigenous American pagan cultures and became annual rituals for the Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations.
The University of Houston Digital Library contains many photos of holidays celebrated in Houston and UH. In the Houstonian Yearbook Collection, you can find photos from student and faculty run events on campus. To read more about the Day of the Dead from the 1989 Houstonian, you can also click here.