Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is an ancient Mesoamerican celebration to commemorate the memory of deceased ancestors that is observed on November 1st and 2nd of every year. The traditional mood is much brighter than the morbid American view of death, with an emphasis on honoring the lives of the deceased, and celebrating the continuation of life; the belief is not that death is the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life.
The holiday is popular in Mexico where it is a national holiday. Common symbols are the skull or calavera, which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas and foods such as sugar skulls. Families usually clean and decorate the graves with ofrendas, or offerings, which often include orange marigold flowers called Flor de Muerto or zempoalxochitl. These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children and bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased's favorite candies on the grave. Ofrendas are also put in homes, usually with foods such as mole, candied pumpkin, pan de muerto, fruit, and sugar skulls. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased. Some people believe the spirits of the dead eat the "spiritual essence" of the ofrenda food and pillows and blankets are left out so that the deceased can rest after their long journey.