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Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a national holiday in Mexico and is observed in Hispanic communities throughout the U.S. Many Mexicans believe that the spirits of the dead return to enjoy a visit with their friends and relatives on this day. Long before sunrise, people stream into the cemeteries laden with candles, flowers, and food that is often shaped and decorated to resemble the symbols of death. Children eat tiny chocolate hearses, sugar funeral wreaths, and candy skulls and coffins. But the atmosphere is festive.
In many homes people set up ofrendas, or altars, to the departed. These are decked with lighted candles, special foods, and whatever the dead enjoyed when they were alive.
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