After a spooky Halloween night on October 31st, it is believed that the souls of those who have passed return to Earth to celebrate life with their loved ones. This beautiful tradition is called Día de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead. It is a Latin American ritual that honors the lives of those that have departed with a two-day celebration which consists of families creating special altars to the dead including their favorite food, objects, photos and, of course, lots of gorgeous flowers!
These offerings are believed to call those who are now living in the land of the dead to visit the land of the living and be reunited with their families for one night. Although this celebration is rooted in pre-Hispanic beliefs, it is still celebrated today in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and is popular throughout the United States as well.
Spirits are guided to the altars families make in their homes or public spaces through the vibrant colors and pungent scent of marigold flowers. Marigolds also represent the fragility and beauty of life. In Mexico, the most commonly used marigolds in Dia de los Muertos celebration are Targetes erecta, known as cempasuchitl – the flower of the dead. These beautiful blooms, that were considered sacred flowers to the Aztecs, are known to have medicinal purposes and can grow up to 3 feet. Other flowers that can be used to decorate altars are chrysanthemums, baby’s breath, hoary stock and cockscomb.
Although this tradition is a time to reflect and mourn those who are no longer with us, it is important to also celebrate the fragility and beauty of life!