The Story Behind Today's Day of the Dead Google Doodle

November 2 marks All Souls' Day, which in Mexico is celebrated as the Day of the Dead. The festival will see thousands of people celebrate and remember loved ones who have died, and the Google Doodle has also brought light to the festivities.

Celebrations come in various forms, including making highly decorative skulls, either as decoration, to wear or to eat.

There is also a large parade in Mexico City, inspired by the opening scene of James Bond movie Spectre, which sees the spy blending into the parade before continuing his mission.

But mostly it is a time where people come together to celebrate their dead, offering candles, foods and flowers to those who have passed on.

Today's Google Doodle has brought this to light with a new illustration to symbolize an important aspect of the festival.

What Is Today's Google Doodle?

Today's (November 2) Google Doodle shows a woman leaving petals along the path outside her home. Her home is surrounded by yellow flowers and has candles burning inside.

Google Doodle Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead Google Doodle for 2021 Google

The yellow flowers are likely marigolds, which are iconic symbols used during Day of the Dead. They are known as the flor de muerto, and their fragrance is said to attract souls to the land of the living.

For pre-Hispanic cultures like the Aztecs and Nahua people, Día de los Muertos was believed to see the dead temporarily return to earth, so feasting and partying was an apt welcome for those souls.

In relation to this tradition, the doodle depicts a family member providing a warm welcome for the dead with a path of marigold leaves and candles, allowing their loved ones to follow them home.

Now, the festival has merged with these ideas and those of the Catholic festival All Souls' Day, where the dead are prayed for and remembered.

The doodle itself is one of a number which were considered to celebrate this day, with marigolds at the center of the various designs the search engine considered.

Google Doodle Day of the Dead
Google Doodle Day of the Dead
Google Doodle Day of the Dead
Previous and possible Google Doodles for Day of the Dead

Some showed people putting out decorations of marigolds and candles around their home, while others showed a house at night covered in decoration, with even the pets joining in the festivities in their skeleton costumes.

In previous years, the calaveras, or skulls, have been at the center of the doodles chosen to represent the Day of the Dead.

In 2019, the doodle not only represented the calaveras, but specifically the image of Catrina.

Catrina is a character drawn by 20th-century cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada in the work La Calavera Catrina, which shows a skeleton woman wearing a huge hat covered in colorful feathers.

Others have focused on the tradition of decorating with a papel picado, which are intricate designs cut out on colorful tissue paper, and hung from the walls.

In some of the almost-doodles for 2021, these papel picados are seen lining the walls along with the marigolds, but in previous years, such as 2015 and 2016, these have served as the key design for the doodle.

Day of the Dead
A woman dressed as a catrina participates in the parade of the "Day Of The Dead Festival" in Guanajuato as part of the 2021 'Day of The Dead' celebration on November 1, 2021 in Guanajuato, Mexico. Considered one of the most popular celebrations in Mexico, the Day of the Dead takes place every year on November 1 and 2. People remember those who have died with offerings, family gatherings and visits to their graves. The celebration has expanded to other countries in Latin America and the rest of the world. Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images