Remembering the dead in Mexico is more cheerful than in Europe. Friends and families gather to pray for the deceased and visit the cemeteries, but also hold parades and festivals. A distinctive Mexican tradition is building ofrendas – altars with food, flowers, sugar skulls and gifts for the spirits of the dead. Ofrendas often even include a small water basin and a mirror so the spirit can refresh itself when it arrives at the altar.
Mexican traditions can be traces to pre-Columbian past, when a festival dedicated to the goddess called Lady of the Dead was held. Today La Catrina – an elegantly dressed woman with a face of a skull corresponds to the Aztec goddess and is one of the main symbols of Mexican celebrations. People often paint their faces with skulls and decorate their hair with flowers when they go to the Day of the Dead parades.