Is All Saints' Day a Public Holiday?
All Saints' Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.
It is believed that the souls of children return to the world of the living on November 1, followed by adult spirits on the Day of the Dead ( Día de los Muertos) on November 2. The children are known as little angels (angelitos), so November 1 is often called the Day of Little Angels (El Día de los Angelitos). The graves of children are cleaned and decorated with candles, paper streamers, and seasonal flowers such as marigolds (cempazuchiles).
In the lead up to All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, 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). Many families have special gatherings at cemeteries to honor dead relatives on November 1 and 2.
Altars are set up in homes to honor dead relatives. These are adorned with favorite meals as offerings (ofrendas), photos, candles, flowers, and candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased. Incense sticks are lit to help souls find their way.
All Saints’ Day is an observance and not a federal public holiday in Mexico. Streets and roads around cemeteries may be particularly busy in some towns and cities.
About All Saints’ Day
All Saints’ Day is the day after Halloween. It is dedicated to remembering all the saints and martyrs throughout Christian history. It falls close to the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which has a theme similar to the Roman festival of Lemuria. The day is observed in many countries, although some customs may vary.
Did You Know?
Candy skulls that are sold in Mexico for All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days are not seen as morbidly ghoulish. Death is viewed as a natural part of life. In fact, in the days of pre-Columbian Mexico some groups believed the skull was a symbol of life.