The Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos is something of a cross-cultural collaboration. While the Aztecs used their summer month of Miccailhuitontli to celebrate dead children, fallen warriors, and other ancestors, the Spaniards brought the Roman Catholic All Soul's Day with them in the 16th century.
Eventually the two holidays merged -- the Spanish influence pushed the celebration into the fall, but it retained the rituals of the indigenous tradition. Here in San Francisco, our own Day of the Dead festivities draw from two distinct cultures as well. Each year, the city's artistic types come out in style alongside the Mission District's Latino community to celebrate those that have passed from this world.
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