By JULIE GILLESPIE
Everyone knows about Halloween: dressing up, free candy, and pranks. Each year on Nov. 1 and 2, however, is another celebration of those passed on. The Latin American culture celebrates the people that have come and gone each year on these days.
On the day of the dead, loved ones are remembered and celebrated.
Those that passed as children are celebrated on Nov. 1 these children are called little angels, or angelitos in Spanish. Those that made it to adulthood are remembered on Nov. 2.
Each household prepares an altar in homage to their loved ones which includes pictures of the spirits being remembered, candles, paper or silk flowers, as well as seasonal flowers, toys, favored foods of the passed, and sugar sculls with the names of those loved ones. Usually tequila and coffee are offered on the second day.
Altars are meant to invited and entice the spirits to come make a visit home on this holiday of remembrance.
Sometimes there is even a basin and wash rag available near or on the altar so that the souls might have a chance to wash before their celebratory feast.
If there were to be any smokers to visit on this day there would also be a pack of cigarettes to offer those souls that would like an after dinner smoke.
The family burial plot is also a place to be decorated in traditional dressings. The weeds will be removed and there will be flowers and often streamers.
The decorations are bright and lively almost like a party. Family members have a sort of reunion at these gravesites and have festivities celebrating the lives of those lost as opposed to mourning their deaths. There is often music, food, and tequila to help enjoy the day.
There are different significant traditions from city to city, even from home to home.
The differences could be slight of significant but something that bonds each home is the celebration. The day of the dead is a day of celebration and not one of mourning.