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These Beautiful Photos Show How Cultures Around The World Honor The Dead

From Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico to the Qingming festival in China, here are some of the beautiful traditions from around the world that celebrate the dead.

Posted on October 31, 2019, at 11:43 a.m. ET

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Merida, Mexico

Alejandro Medina / Getty Images

Residents with painted faces participate in El Paseo de Las Almas, The Walk of Souls, during a Day of the Dead festival in Merida, Mexico, on Oct. 28, 2018. The Day of the Dead in the Mayan area is called "Hanal Pixan" in Castilian, meaning food of souls.

Guilin, China

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Lanterns are placed in a river the night before the Ghost Festival in Guilin, China, on Aug. 16, 2019. The Ghost Festival seeks to pacify hungry ghosts. Traditionally, people burn incense and prepare meals in memory of their ancestors coming out from the lower realm.

Manila, Philippines

Dondi Tawatao / Getty Images

A woman looks at tombstones at a cemetery in Manila on Nov. 1, 2018. Filipinos flock to cemeteries around the country to visit departed relatives and loved ones to remember All Saints Day. In the Philippines, family members clean tombs and often spend the night at the cemetery eating and celebrating with loved ones.

Otavalo, Ecuador

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In the cemetery of Otavalo, the indigenous have the rite of sharing food with the deceased next to their graves, on Nov. 2, 2018.

Warsaw, Poland

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Candles are lit during All Saints Day in Powazki cementery in Warsaw, on Nov. 1, 2015.

Paju, South Korea

Lee Jae Won / Reuters

South Koreans, who were originally from North Korea, and their relatives hold a memorial service for their ancestors at Imjingak pavilion in Paju, on Sept. 12, 2011. The Chuseok is a time for Korean families to remember and honor their dead ancestors and Imjingak pavilion is the closest residents of the capitalist South can get to the border with the communist North.

Medan, Indonesia

Yt Haryono / Reuters

Chinese Indonesians throw fake money to honor their ancestors during the Hungry Ghost Festival in Medan on Aug. 31, 2012. During the festival, Chinese perform ritual prayers so that the souls of their ancestors will go to heaven.

Ambohijafy, Madagascar

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A woman carries the wrapped body of her son, who died aged just three years old, as she takes part in a funerary tradition called the Famadihana in the village of Ambohijafy on Sept. 23, 2017. During the Famadihana, which can be translated as "turning of the bones", several crypts are opened and people take the bodies of their ancestors from the family crypts and rewrap them in fresh cloth, then dance with the corpses in their arms at the pace of traditional Malagasy band's music.

Ogano, Japan

Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images

In this picture taken on August 13, 2018, a family pays respects in front of jizo statues for the souls of unborn children and those who died at a young age, during the Obon prayers period. Hundreds of the temple's followers gather for the Obon prayer on Aug. 13, one of the days the souls of the dead are believed to return to the world under the Buddhist teaching.

La Paz, Bolivia

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A woman places flowers on the grave of her son at La Llamita cemetery in La Paz, during All Souls Day on Nov. 2, 2017.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP / Getty Images

Cambodians pray before Buddhist monks during the first day of the Pchum Ben festival in Phnom Penh on Sept. 25, 2018. Pchum Ben festival is a popular holiday in Cambodia which consists of 15 days of prayers honoring departed family members, visits to temples and offering food to monks.

Los Angeles

Nurphoto / Getty Images

Participants in Día de los Muerto, or Day of the Dead, celebrations in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2018. Day of the Dead has its origin in Mexico and is widely celebrated by Mexican-Americans as a tribute to the lives of loved ones who passed away.

Bratislava, Slovakia

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Five-year-old twin sisters Amalia and Lesana play with a candle at a cemetery near Bratislava, Slovakia, on the All Saints Day on Nov. 1, 2017.

Kathmandu, Nepal

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Nepalese kids in religious attire participate in a parade to celebrate the Gaijatra festival, or the Festival of Cows, in Kathmandu. Hindus commemorate the death of loved ones by honoring cows.

Kolkata, India

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Hindu devotees in River Ganges during the celebration of Pitru Paksha on Sept. 28, 2019. Pitru Paksha is a 16-day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors.

Piedrahita, Spain

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

A man pays his respects in front of tombstones at Piedrahita's old cemetery on Nov. 1, 2016. Spaniards visit cemeteries during All Saints Day to pay respect to deceased relatives and to lay flowers and maintain their graves.

Lima, Peru

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Scissors dancers perform at the Nueva Esperanza cemetery during the Day of the Dead celebrations in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 1, 2016.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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A woman devotee in the role of a spirit known as a Gede performs during ceremonies honoring the Haitian voodoo spirit of Baron Samdi and Gede, on the Day of the Dead in the Cemetery of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Nov. 1, 2017. Voodoo believers and devotees offer candles, alcohol and food.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Bangladeshi Catholics pray after lighting candles for their departed relatives at a cemetery on Nov. 2, 2016, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On this day, Christians come to the graveyard and pray for the departed souls of their loved ones.

Shah Alam, Malaysia

Mohd Samsul Mohd Said / Getty Images

Malaysian people wearing a traditional Japanese Kimono perform a dance during the Bon Odori festival on July 21, 2018, in Shah Alam, Malaysia. The Bon festival is a traditional Japanese Buddhist celebration dedicated to the spirits of ancestors.

Wuhan, China

Vcg / Getty Images

A person prays in front of a gravestone as people across China pay their respects to friends and relatives two days before Tomb-Sweeping Day at Shimenfeng Cemetery on April 3, 2011, in Wuhan, China. Chinese people commemorate the deceased in a tradition stretching back millenia known as the Qingming Festival.


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