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October 29, 2021 26 min

For decades, late October meant one holiday in American popular culture: Halloween. But over the past couple of decades, more and more people are also marking another fall festival: Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Today, we get into how this Mexican holiday took hold in the United States: its history, its customs, how it’s different here from the way it’s observed in Mexico. We talk to L.A. Times culture reporter Daniel Hernandez, who has written extensively about the subject. And we talk to Alexis Meza de los Santos, a mexicana who grew up in Kentucky and has seen Día de los Muertos spread across the South.

More reading:

Contribute to our digital Día de Muertos altar

Here’s the story behind Día de Muertos altars — and how you can build one

Tamales, salt and bread ‘bones’: How foods are central to Day of the Dead

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