The History of Halloween in Mexico

Halloween, a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31, is often associated with western or northern European countries, being seen as a cultural import to other regions. However, Halloween also has a deep history in Mexico that dates back centuries. In Mexico, the holiday is known as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the rich history of Halloween in Mexico and its cultural significance.

Origins of Dia de los Muertos

The origins of Dia de los Muertos can be traced back over 3,000 years to the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs believed that upon death, one’s soul entered a realm called Mictlan, which was believed to be located beneath the earth’s surface. The Aztecs celebrated a festival called Mictecacihuatl, which celebrated the return of the souls of the deceased. The festival was celebrated around the same time as Halloween, between October 31 and November 2.

When the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the sixteenth century, they brought with them their own celebrations, including All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, celebrated on November 1 and 2 respectively. These holidays merged with the existing Dia de los Muertos celebrations, resulting in the holiday we know today.

Celebrations and Traditions

Dia de los Muertos is a two-day celebration that honors the dead. The first day, November 1, is known as Dia de los Angelitos, or Day of the Little Angels. This day is dedicated to the souls of children who have passed away. The second day, November 2, is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which honors all souls who have passed.

One of the most iconic traditions of Dia de los Muertos is the creation of ofrendas, or altars, honoring deceased loved ones. Ofrendas often include pictures of loved ones, candles, flowers, and their favorite foods and drinks. It is believed that the spirits of the deceased visit their loved ones during Day of the Dead and are guided by the ofrendas.

Another important tradition is the creation of calaveras, or skulls. These can be made from sugar, chocolates, or clay, and are often decorated with colorful designs. These colorful skulls are a popular symbol of Dia de los Muertos.


The history of Halloween in Mexico is deeply rooted in ancient Aztec traditions, merged with Spanish colonialism, resulting in the holiday of Dia de los Muertos. This celebration provides an opportunity for families to celebrate and honor the lives of those who have passed away. By creating ofrendas and decorating calaveras, families can feel closer to their loved ones and celebrate their memories. Dia de los Muertos is a vibrant and colorful celebration of life and death that has become an integral part of Mexican culture.

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