Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
In Christian Europe, Roman Catholic customs absorbed pagan traditions. All Saints Day and All Souls Day became the autumnal celebration of the dead. Over many centuries, rites which had occurred in cultivated fields, where the souls of the dead were thought to leave after the harvest, to cemeteries.