On the heels of Halloween comes yet another eccentric holiday: El Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, which contrary to what you may think, is a lively celebration of life rather than a solemn homage to the dearly departed.

Annually observed in Mexico and a number of other countries, the Day of the Dead reportedly originates from Aztec celebrations honoring Mictecacihuatl, queen of the Netherworld, reports the Province. Following the 16th century Spanish invasion of Mexico, the holiday merged with All Soul's Day, but nevertheless retained its indigenous rituals, adds SF Weekly.

The Day of the Dead, which starts October 31 at midnight, revolves around reunions between friends and family, who gather around to pray, visit the graves of loved ones with offerings of flowers, food and candy skulls.

Legend has it that the souls of dead family members come back to visit in the first two days of November. They are welcomed with candles, colorful altars, home-cooked food, and bright yellow flowers.

According to Sergio Quesada, professor of anthropology and curriculum coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute, the ceremony celebrates their rebirth rather than their death. “Mexicans have a love affair with death,” The Red and Black quoted Quesada as saying. “Not with dead people, but with the idea of death.”

Nowadays, the ceremony is not only celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries. In the United States, the tradition's popularity has grown in tandem with the number of Mexican immigrants in the country.

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  • A man rests at the grave site of a departed loved one at the San Gregorio cemetery during the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead holiday on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011. A tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2., families take picnics to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds, candles and sugar skulls. It is believed that the lit candles and the scent of the marigolds guide wandering souls back to their waiting families. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • Two people sit by a campfire at the San Gregorio cemetery during the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead holiday on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011. A tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2., families take picnics to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds, candles and sugar skulls. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • Candles illuminate grave sites at the San Gregorio cemetery during the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead holiday on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011. A tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2., families take picnics to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds, candles and sugar skulls. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • Candles illuminate grave sites at the San Gregorio cemetery during the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead holiday on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011. A tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2., families visit and take picnics to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of departed relatives with fresh flowers, candles and sugar skulls. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • Candles illuminate grave sites at the San Gregorio cemetery during the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead holiday on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011. A tradition that coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2., families take picnics to the cemeteries and decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds, candles and sugar skulls. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • A woman sits beside a relative's grave a

    A woman sits beside a relative's grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Picture of a miniature tomb put by a rel

    Picture of a miniature tomb put by a relative over the grave of a loved one at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People remain around a relative's grave

    People remain around a relative's grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Picture taken at the San Jose cemetery i

    Picture taken at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A child dressed like a clown sits on a g

    A child dressed like a clown sits on a grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People sit around a relative's grave at

    People sit around a relative's grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Two musician play at the San Isidro ceme

    Two musician play at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman stand next to a grave at the San

    A woman stand next to a grave at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or 'Dia de los Muertos', as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man rides his bicycle at the San Isidr

    A man rides his bicycle at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or 'Dia de los Muertos', as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A group of Mexican musicians known as "M

    A group of Mexican musicians known as 'Mariachis' sing and play their music around a grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A child dressed like a clown stands next

    A child dressed like a clown stands next to a grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man walks next to a grave at the San I

    A man walks next to a grave at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or 'Dia de los Muertos', as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man puts flowers in a grave at the San

    A man puts flowers in a grave at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or 'Dia de los Muertos', as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Two musician play in front of a grave at

    Two musician play in front of a grave at the San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City on November 2, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Nicaraguan man cleans a grave at the G

    A Nicaraguan man cleans a grave at the General Cemetery during Day of the Dead celebrations in Managua on November 02, 2011. AFP PHOTO / ELMER MARTINEZ (Photo credit should read ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Nicaraguan woman decorates a grave at

    A Nicaraguan woman decorates a grave at the General Cemetery during Day of the Dead celebrations in Managua on November 02, 2011. AFP PHOTO / ELMER MARTINEZ (Photo credit should read ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Relatives clean the grave site of a departed relative marking Dia de los Muertos or Day of Dead at the local cemetery in Calderon, on the outskirts of northern Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday Nov. 2, 2011. The white tombstone in the center reads in Spanish: "Unforgettable grandparents." (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

  • Marchers carry larger-than-life puppets in the parade celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Christine Lintron

    Christine Lintron poses for a photo in costume celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Richard, Dara Lopez

    Richard and Dara Lopez pose for photos in costumes celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Zoe Gomes

    Zoe Gomes poses for photos in costume celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Marchers carry larger-than-life puppets in the parade celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • Katiana Rodriguez

    Katiana Rodriguez poses for photos in costume celebrating the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) activities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Revelers can remember and honor their deceased at the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Festival. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

  • A priest makes a blessing over a grave i

    A priest makes a blessing over a grave in the Nueva Esperanza cementery, in the outskirts of Villa Maria del Triunfo, southern Lima on November 01, 2011, during All Saints Day celebrations. AFP PHOTO/ERNESTO BENAVIDES (Photo credit should read ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman stands beside a relative's grave

    A woman stands beside a relative's grave at the San Jose cemetery in Mexico City's Santiago neighbourhood on November 1, 2011 as Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). Ceremonies -- which traditionally include all-night vigils in cemeteries and colourful altars with food and drink -- are taking place across the country. In 2003, UNESCO named the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A girl walks by a graffiti in Guatemala

    A girl walks by a graffiti in Guatemala City during the celebration of All Saints Day, on November 1, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Johan ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • View of small skeleton figures on displa

    View of small skeleton figures on display at the Jamaica flowers market in Mexico City, on October 31, 2011, as Mexicans prepare to celebrate the traditional Day of the Dead. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Cráneos de cartón al lado de tumbas falsas que forman parte de una ofrenda por el Día de los Muertos, el sábado 29 de octubre de 2011, en el campus de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, en el sur de la ciudad de México. (Foto AP/Marco Ugarte)

  • Un hombre frente a una obra artística con figuras de calaveras que forma parte de las festividades por el Día de los Muertos, en el Zocalo de la ciudad de México, en esta fotografía de archivo del 1 de noviembre de 2006. (Foto AP/Gregory Bull, Archivo)

  • Una niña posa para una fotografía frente a calaveras de chocolate y dulce que forman parte de una ofrenda por el Día de los Muertos, el sábado 29 de octubre de 2011, en el campus de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, en el sur de la ciudad de México. (Foto AP/Marco Ugarte)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2006 file photo, a man stands in front of an art piece of painted skulls in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza during Day of the Dead festivities. Day of the Dead, a colorfully macabre celebration harkening back to the Aztecs is observed on the Catholic All Saints' Day. "El Dia de Los Muertos" is when families take picnics to the cemeteries to decorate the graves of departed relatives with marigolds, candles and sugar skulls. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

  • Una muchacha posa junto a una calavera de La Catrina que representa a una jugadora de tenis durante los festejos del Día de los Muertos en los Juegos Panamericanos de Guadalajara el 17 de octubre del 2011. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • Kiko Torres, Marlysa Sanchez

    Kiko Torres y su novia Marlysa Sánchez muestran algunos de los objetos alusivos al Día de los Muertos que venden a lo largo de todo el año en el negocio Mark y Más de Albuquerque. Foto del 3 de octubre del 2011. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

  • A man walks past masks of skulls and cem

    A man walks past masks of skulls and cempasuchil (also called flower of the dead) flowers in Mexico City on November 2, 2010, during the Day of the Dead. Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1 and 2 in connection with the Catholic celebration of All Saints and All Souls Days. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo Estrella (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)