Catholics have always celebrated these special days either by attending mass on Dia de los Santos (Nov. 1) and Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 2)or by going to the cemetary and placing flowers on a loved ones tombstone.

Here in NM the tradition of El Dia de los Muertos from my recollection was reintroduced in Mesilla about 2 or 3 decades ago either late 1980's or early 1990's. The town of Mesilla was first settled in the 1840's when the area was still part of Mexico. After the Gadsden Purchase in 1854 which was signed in Mesilla, the community became part of the US and territory of NM. Because Mesilla and NM retain a strong Mexican heritage and many are descedants of the early settlers from Mexico many other festivals and holidays are celebrated like Cinco de Mayo, Mexican independance from Spain, Dia de los Muertos, and Christmas with luminarias. Many traditions have been kept alive and have now become common in the US.