Day of the Dead, or Día de Los Muertos, has been observed in Mexico for centuries, honoring death as a part of the cycle of life, rather than fearing it.
Google's doodle Thursday celebrates the Nov. 2 holiday, during which families and friends gather to pray and remember loved ones who have passed and help support their spiritual journey. The traditions have spread from its origins in the Mexican culture to many other cultures around the world.
The doodle includes many key symbols associated with the holiday. At the doodle's center is a dog, believed to guide spirits to their final resting place in the afterlife, while candles guide them back to visit the land of the living.
Monarch butterflies, which migrate to Mexico every fall, are believed to be personifications of the spirits of ancestors returning to visit. Decorated skulls, made out of sugar and given to friends as gifts, represent the vitality of life and individual personality.
Those who observe the holiday often adorn their homes and cemeteries with altars that include pictures of deceased loved ones and tissue paper decorated to represent the wind and the fragile link between life and death.
The holiday is often a source of comfort and community.
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