3 Mexico cities with deep, dark pasts

Written by By Alanna Conaway, CNN

October 3 is the big day for Mexico

día de los muertos (Day of the Dead )

celebrations

The November festivities are called Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life, but it’s really more about honoring the dead with brightly decorated altars, candies, and the blessing of food and drinks. Mexican families put together the altars to honor their ancestors who’ve passed on.

While many of the altars are painted and decorated with tasty treats, in a few homes guests will see a more elaborate wooden coffin. Día de los Muertos is an occasion for creative circles to get together and craft their own altars. These tiny cardboard boxes are custom decorated with the faces of the living and/or deceased loved ones.

The skulls of the dead were once cobblestone monuments made with quarry stones or molded clay. The Mexican government outlawed the construction of cobblestone monuments after the 1910 Revolution in an effort to maintain order.

• Are you making your own Día de los Muertos altars? Tell us in the comments below.

• Learn more about the three cities with Día de los Muertos traditions at Fathom’s Destination: Día de los Muertos series

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