The Day of the Dead (El DÌa de los Muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage (and others) living in the United States and Canada. The celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day which take place on those days. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, and using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. Observance of the holiday in Mexican-American communities in the United States has become more important and widespread as the community grows numerically and economically. Mexican-style Day of the Dead festivities have spread around the world, including to Europe and New Zealand.Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years, and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl (known in English as "The Lady of the Dead").