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All Souls' Day in Mexico

All Souls’ Day (Los Fieles Difuntos), on November 2, and All Saints’ Day (Día de Todos los Santos), on November 1, are bigger than Halloween in Mexico. It's also called the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos).

Is All Souls' Day a Public Holiday?

All Souls' Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Hand-painted artificial skulls for Mexico's Day of the Dead.

©iStockphoto.com/cjm1

Celebrate All Souls’ Day

Markets and shops throughout Mexico sell toys and candy in the form of macabre symbols such as skeletons, coffins, and the personification of death ( La Muerta) in the lead up to All Souls’ Day. Candles, paper wreaths and seasonal flowers are also sold.

Many families have special gatherings at cemeteries to honor the Day of the Dead. Cemetery graves are decorated with candles, wreaths, floral arrangements, and colorful paper streamers. Events on the day include parties featuring a variety of popular Mexican dishes and drinks.

Altars are set up in homes to honor dead relatives. These are adorned with food and drinks (ofrendas), photos, candles, flowers, and candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased. Incense sticks are lit to help the departed find their way.

Public Life

All Souls’ Day, on November 2, is a bank holiday in Mexico. Banks are closed but most businesses are open. Streets and roads around cemeteries may be particularly busy in some towns and cities.

About All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day is a Catholic tradition in which churches commemorate the dead by praying for their souls. Rituals include visiting family graves and remembering deceased relatives. However, this Christian holiday combines some rituals from the Pagan holiday Samhain as well as ancient Mexican traditions used to celebrate and remember dead ancestors. All Souls’ Day is also celebrated in parts of Europe and other countries worldwide.

Did You Know?

Mexico’s Day of the Dead is not a day to be scared – it is a festive occasion with parties, dancing, singing, and even fireworks!

About All Souls' Day in other countries

Read more about All Souls' Day.

All Souls' Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010TueNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2011WedNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2012FriNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2013SatNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2014SunNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2015MonNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2016WedNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2017ThuNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2018FriNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2019SatNov 2All Souls' DayObservance
2020MonNov 2All Souls' DayObservance

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