7 things you may not know about Día de los Muertos

By: Kattey Ortiz/Digital Producer

No, it's not a Mexican Halloween.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday, but it's far from spooky. If anything, it's a celebration to remember loved ones who have passed on.

Here are some facts about the holiday you may not have known:

1. The souls of children who died are believed to visit from heaven at midnight on Oct. 31, when the celebrations begin. The souls of the adults are believed to visit friends and family on Earth Nov. 2.

2. Ofrendas are the altars families erect to welcome the souls home and to remember the departed. Some have different levels, with a crucifix and pictures of saints almost always on top. They're beautifully decorated with pictures of the deceased, a lit candle for each, surrounded by some of their favorite belongings.

3. Pan de muerto is a traditional sweet bread left on the ofrenda as an offering for the souls.

4. Water is also essential for the ofrendas. The souls are thirsty after their long journey back!

5. Cempasuchils, or "Mexican marigolds," are scattered to guide the souls home to the ofrendas.

6. The celebrations don't stop at the ofrendas -- the cemeteries come alive with music, tequila, mezcal and more offerings as friends and family honor their loved ones.

7. Día de los Muertos has indigenous Aztec origins dating back to as far as 3,000 years ago.

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