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In this Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 photo, a rooster walks on the arm of a cross as believers observe All Saints' Day at the Nejapa cemetery in Managua, Nicaragua. The souls of departed loved ones are being honored around Latin America as celebrants blend pre-Columbian rituals with the Roman Catholic observance of all Saint's Day on Nov. 1 and All Soul's Day on Nov. 2 to mark the Day of the Dead.
Latin Americans around the region are honoring their departed loved ones with Day of the Dead celebrations, blending pre-Columbian rituals with the Roman Catholic observance of all Saint's Day on Nov. 1 and All Soul's Day on Nov. 2.

The holiday known in Spanish as "Dia de los Muertos," is especially popular in Mexico, but is also observed in other countries around the region, including Guatemala and Bolivia.

In Lima, Peru, a young man applied a fresh coat of paint to a cross on the grave of a loved one while a woman held vigil at her grandmother's tomb, protected from the sun by an umbrella tied to tree branches. Also at the Nueva Esperanza Cemetery, described as the world's second largest, 77-year-old Domitia Alaca wandered among the graves trying to find her father's final resting place.

In this Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 photo, people decorate the graves of departed loved ones with bright orange marigolds and candles during Day of the Dead
In this Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 photo, people decorate the graves of departed loved ones with bright orange marigolds and candles during Day of the Dead celebrations in Xoxocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. Latin Americans around the region honored their departed loved ones with Day of the Dead celebrations, blending pre-Columbian rituals with the Roman Catholic observance of all Saint s Day on Nov. 1 and All Soul s Day on Nov. 2. ((AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo))

The cemeteries of Haiti were populated with Voodoo practitioners holding rituals to remember their dead relatives. Candles illuminated the tombs at the San Gregorio Cemetery outside Mexico City, where families communed with their ancestors by holding picnics and decorating the graves with bright orange marigolds.

Elaborate altars were erected inside homes around the region to remember loved ones who have died, decorated with photographs, candles, flowers, skeleton figurines, sugar skulls and sometimes the favorite food and drink of the dearly departed.

In Mexico, the holiday decorations included elaborately cut colored pieces of tissue paper called "papel picado," and the image of the elegant "Skeleton Lady," a drawing made popular by the late-Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada. Named Catrina by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, the figure wears a long dress and wide-brimmed hat.

Day of the Dead festivities recently have begun to fuse with the American celebration of Halloween in some areas.

For instance, the stereotype of the indigenous woman known as "la cholita," in her traditional dress and little bowler hat, was portrayed in some parts of Bolivia this year as a zombie. Children in some areas of Mexico, meanwhile, have begun to embrace the U.S.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 photo, Evelin Huaycho, dressed as a "cholita" zombie, poses for a photo before her performance in the House of
In this Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 photo, Evelin Huaycho, dressed as a "cholita" zombie, poses for a photo before her performance in the House of Terror, during a Halloween night event in El Alto, Bolivia. Day of the Dead festivities recently have begun to fuse with the American celebration of Halloween in some areas. Some Bolivians have started to embrace the Halloween traditions such as the haunted house, fusing characters adapted from the Andean culture such as 'la cholita' and creepy creatures of U.S. horror films. ((AP Photo/Juan Karita))
tradition of trick-or-treating on All Hallow's Eve.

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In this Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 photo, a voodoo devotee prays while sitting on the headstone of a grave during Day of the Dead celebrations at the cemetery in
In this Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 photo, a voodoo devotee prays while sitting on the headstone of a grave during Day of the Dead celebrations at the cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The cemeteries of Haiti on Friday were populated with voodoo practitioners holding rituals to remember their dead relatives. ((AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery))

In this Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 photo, a musician walks near a cross after playing funeral songs for relatives who are visiting the graves of their loved ones
In this Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 photo, a musician walks near a cross after playing funeral songs for relatives who are visiting the graves of their loved ones in the Nueva Esperanza cemetery during the Day of the Dead festivities in Lima, Peru. During the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, celebrations, families visit cemeteries and commune with their ancestors, cleaning the graves, decorating them with flowers and holding picnics graveside. ((AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd))