During this time, "the boundaries between life and death begin to blur. Men, women and children of all ages honor and celebrate their loved ones who have passed away, participating joyously in a festival that has roots nearly 4000 years old." (source: http://www.art-is-fun.com/day-of-the-dead/)
The purpose is to remember, honor, and show great respect and love to one's family members who are deceased. Elaborate altars are created, fancy food is prepared, and offerings of many kinds are placed out for the spirits of these ancestors.
One of the beliefs is that that Heaven's gates open at midnight on the 31st of October, and the spirits of all deceased children—angelitos—are allowed to reunite with their families for one day (24 hours). What a wonderful belief!
There is much more to this special day, including the history of the art associated with it, such as the sugar skull. Rather than try to summarize any more of it, just visit the links below if you're interested in learning more about Día de los Muertos. It's really cool.
These sites are worth checking out. :)
|Image found on: http://www.crafthubs.com/browse?tip=day-of-the-dead|