Every year on November 1st and 2nd, Mexicans and Mexican Americans celebrate the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos.

This festive holiday celebrates the lives of our deceased relatives and honors their memory.

But if you’re not Mexican, you might not know how to properly celebrate the Day of the Dead.

What's the right way to do it?

If you're not sure, don't worry - here is a list of dos and don’ts to help you out.

Do: Offer food and drink to the dead

On the Day of the Dead, it’s traditional to place an altar in your home with pictures of your dearly departed relatives.

You should also put out their favorite foods and drinks.

This way, when they visit your home on this special day, they will have everything they need. And don’t worry, they won’t eat or drink the food and drinks you put out for them - they just appreciate the sentiment.

Don’t: Set up your altar on October 31st

You might be excited to get a head start on Day of the Dead celebrations but resist the urge to set up your altar before November 1st.

The reason is that October 31st is Halloween or El Día de los Innocentes - the day when we remember infants and young children who have died. It’s not appropriate to mix the two holidays. So wait until November 1st to set up your altar.

An altar in your home is a key component of any Day of the Dead celebration.

Altars are a way to honor our ancestors and loved ones who have passed away.

They typically include photos, favorite foods and drinks, and other mementos. But don't forget the most important part: candles! Candles are said to guide the souls of our deceased loved ones back to us on this special day.

Do: Dress up in colorful clothes

On the Day of the Dead, people traditionally wear brightly colored clothes in honor of the dead.

After all, why should they have all the fun in the afterlife?

Traditional costumes are often brightly colored. It’s also common to see people wearing skeleton masks or faces during Day of the Dead celebrations.

So, if you want to join in on the fun, make sure to wear something colorful and festive!

Don’t: Wear black clothes

As tempting as it might be to wear all black to show how somber and serious you are about honoring your dead relatives, resist the urge!

Black is associated with death, so it’s seen as bad luck to wear it on the Day of the Dead. Stick to bright colors instead so you don’t offend any ghosts!

Do: Spend time at the cemetery

This may seem like a strange activity to some, but visiting graves is an important part of Mexican culture and helps keep alive the memories of our departed loved ones.

Cemeteries are often decorated with Marigolds and other offerings on the Day of the Dead, so take some time to wander around and take in all the sights and sounds.

Bring Marigolds (the flower used for El Dia de Los Muertos) to decorate the graves of your loved ones.

It is said that Marigolds help your loved ones find their way back to the afterlife once the Day of the Dead celebration is over.

Do: Enjoy some traditional food and drink

No Day of the Dead celebration would be complete without some delicious Mexican food and drink!

Popular dishes include tamales, mole poblano, pan de Muertos, Atole, and pulque. And don't forget to wash it all down with a cold horchata or bottle of Jarritos or Mexican beer.


Day of the Dead is a wonderful opportunity to remember our deceased relatives and honor their memory.

By following these simple tips, you can be sure you're celebrating this special holiday correctly!

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