On Thursday (November 1), many Christians mark All Saints Day, and on Friday (November 2), All Souls Day honors the saints and faithful who have died. During this time, many Latinos also observe what they call the Day of the Dead, when it’s believed the spirits of the departed return to Earth. There are different traditions for this across Latin America, and Hispanics in the U.S. are celebrating as well.
In many communities, Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a joyful public event, with parades celebrating the belief that, for this one day every year, the spirits of loved ones have returned. Families often hold private observances as well.
In Rockville Maryland, Rocio and Luis Bermudez incorporate their Roman Catholic faith with their Mexican-American traditions, building a special altar in their home. On the altar they place pictures of their deceased family members and a portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Candles are lit to help the spirits find their way down from heaven. Water is put out to replenish the thirsty souls after their long journey. And since it’s a party, the altar is decorated with colorful papers and treats.