Dia de los Muertos originated in Mexico as a way for family and friends to remember their loved ones who have died. It is focused on celebrating their lives rather than mourning their deaths. People gather at cemeteries to celebrate their loved ones, building altars decorated with photos and bringing some of their favorite foods. The altars are called ofrendas and they are decorated with orange marigolds, toys for deceased children, favorite candies, and more.
Some of the traditional foods offered at the celebrations include pan de Muerto, sweet bread, tamales, and Calaveras (sugar skulls) that are very colorfully designed and represent the individuality of each departed loved one. Some people believe that spirits eat the essence of the foods offered.
Traditionally, Dia de los Muertos has been a family-oriented holiday, not a commercial celebration. Yet with increased visibility in popular culture, such as with the Disney film Coco, people are learning more about the significance of the celebration as well as some of the traditions associated with it.