Celebrations for Día de Los Muertos, or the “Day of the Dead,” were restrained over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic — as was the case for most holidays. This year, however, is shaping up to be a different story altogether.

Day of the Dead begins at midnight on November 1 and ends after November 2. As it approaches, Mexican flower growers have already begun to sell a high number of marigolds, which are used in the celebrations. That’s because the flowers, known as cempasúchil, have a strong fragrance believed to lead souls from their burial place back to their family home.

Indeed, an increase in fertilizer prices has correspondingly led to increased prices for flowers. Still, families are buying marigolds as quickly as workers can transport them from the flower-producing district of Xochimilco in Mexico City to markets.

“We have always planted marigolds from the time of our ancestors,” local flower grower Cristobal Garcia said. “It is said that the color and the aroma make our dead visit us.” Marigolds, which are native to Mexico, are used to decorate ofrendas for two reasons. First, their strong smell is believed to help guide souls back to their family homes. The second reason is that they are brightly colored. Marigolds’ bright orange and yellow colors add festive decorations to the ofrendas. 

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