Halloween might be over, but head to Google's homepage today and you'll see skeletal figures today. The search engine has dedicated its daily Doodle to El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, the holiday that honors and celebrates death as part of the natural cycle of life, rather than mourning.
According to the Smithsonian Latino Center, the "spirited holiday" has its roots in indigenous peoples of Meso America, including the Mayans and Aztecs. Nowadays, the celebration is observed throughout Mexico, areas of Central and South America, as well as by many in the United States. It combines the November 1 holiday, All Saints Day, with the November 2 holiday, All Souls Day, remembering both children and adults who have passed.
In addition to covering altars (ofrenda) with marigolds, toys, and candles, families and friends will gather to remember loved ones and visit their graves. Traditional foods eaten on the holiday include sugar skulls (calaveritas de azúcar), a sweet bread of the dead (pan de muerto), and other sugar-spun creations. People paint their faces as skeletons and wear colorful clothes and flowers in their hair for dances and parades.
Google Doodle has celebrated Day of the Dead in past years. This year's Doodle depicts parts of the traditional altar on a black background — the Google letters are spelled out with bones, and a photo of a presumably deceased relative is surrounded by flowers, brightly colored paper crafts, fruits, and skulls. Also shown is a smiling skeletal dog, which Google's Doodle Blog says is seen as a "spirit guide" for the dead. The monarch butterfly, meanwhile, represents the dead returning for the day.