We Mexicans feel much more alive during the Days of the Dead, every 1st and 2nd of November as years pass.
The living are always in need, the dead have too much of everything: altars in their honor are put up in homes and cemeteries and decorated with purple and orange cut paper, taper candles and incense, sugar paste candies and flowers such as cempasuchil -marigolds, the flower of the dead-, terciopelo, nubes and carnations.
The deceased are offered food made by the living, like tamales, mole and candied pumpkin, and beverages such as atole (a corn flour drink), pulque (fermented maguey juice) and spirits. Included in the offering, placed beside the deceased's photograph, are cigarettes, seasonal fruit, a water jug and a wash bowl - so the souls can cleanse themselves -, as well as the traditional bread of the dead, delicious sugar coated loaves of bread decorated with bones and tears made out of the same dough. When the altar is removed at the end of the celebrations, the food will have lost its smell and taste: the souls that have been summoned will be nourished on the food's essence.
On the altars for the dead children -the little deceased- there are also toys made out of wood, cardboard, clay or plastic. Thus, the departed ones who visit us on these days will quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger and their spirit.
Paths of marigold petals are laid out so the dead can find their way back home and votive candles are lit for every soul. During the Days of the Dead, the characteristic smell of marigold and the aroma of incense and copal fill the night's atmosphere.
Read more about Day of the Dead here.