As the Mexican Day of the Dead starts to pick up cultural steam north of the border, the Daily Beast digs into the holiday a bit, taking the casual reader past the colorful candy skulls that represent the outer limit of knowledge for a great many Americans. Here are three thumbnail insights from Beast contributor Ana Sofia Pelaez that merit reading in their majestic original form:

1. In the Yucatán, the holiday is called Hanal Pixán and can be translated as—and this is pretty cool—”the path of the soul through the essence of food.”

2. It’s not just food that gets served up as part of the offering process. “Vices as well as pleasures are remembered, and beer, tequila, mezcal, or even cigarettes can be included.”

3. The Day of the Dead is really the Days of the Dead: November 1, notes Pelaez, is dedicated to children who have passed on, while adults are remembered on November 2.

Image source: Flickr member Orin Zebest under Creative Commons

See more articles