The Día de los Muertos is actually a multi-day holiday running from October 31st through November 2nd. It is Mexican in origin and is a time to remember, pray for, and celebrate family and friends who have passed. It is a time when the deceased are with us and supported by their loved ones in their journey through the afterlife. Beautiful altars (private or shared) are built and covered in Marigolds, Sugar Skulls, and photographs. Offerings of favorite food and drink are laid out along side personal mementos and spiritual or religious items. The event, which is so much more than just a few sentences can convey, is a time for celebration of the family and not a time of mourning.
I began learning much more about this time after moving to Los Angeles in 2008 and I began participating in a variety of events both on my own, with Sarah, and with our friends. The acceptance and popularity of the events seem to grow larger every year...last year there was an altar for prayers and messages offered at Disneyland/DCA! Over the years we have gone several times to the festival at Hollywood Forever Cemetery where large intricate altars are displayed and you are invited to join in the celebration with other families. We've sent our messages, support, and love "up" to our loved ones and have enjoyed the amazing art, music and food. Last year, Sarah built a beautiful altar in our home for my Mother that we shared between ourselves. This year we've had our hands full but we have celebrated privately and in quiet reflection of our loved ones...one extra prayer this year for the father of one of my best friends.
As of right now: three hundred and sixty four days and counting until next year's Day of the Dead! Plenty of time to find the nearest celebration in your town.