Mexico has a curious relationship to death. While other cultures tend to view death with sadness, uncertainty, and even fear, in Mexican culture death is considered part of the cycle of life: inevitable and a little sad for those left behind, but not negative or to be feared. For Mexicans, the grieving process tends to include celebration and joyful memories of the person’s life. Around this time of year, November 1 and 2, annual Day of the Dead festivities are held; of course, the dead are invited to join the living for a while.
The Day of the Dead tradition has survived since pre-Hispanic times, overcoming historical and cultural challenges such as the Spanish conquest or the growing popularity of Halloween. It is so important, in fact, that UNESCO declared the Day of the Dead “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” on November 7, 2003.