Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a beautifully elaborate holiday celebrated in Mexico and other countries throughout the world to remember deceased loved ones.

Family and friends gather each year on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 to pray for in remembrance of those who have died.

It is a Mexican National Holiday and the country's largest celebration of the year.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated with the building of alters to the deceased as homage. Individuals honor the dead with gifts of sugar skulls, chocolate, marigolds (the Mexican flower of death), sweet bread, and other trinkets.

It is said that this holiday can be traced back to the indigenous cultures of Mexico and has been celebrated for as long as 2,500 to 3,000 years.

Nov. 2 marks day two of Dia de los Muertos, the day when adult souls are welcomed home.

The souls of young children arrive one day earlier at midnight on Oct. 31, according to goMexico.com.

Individuals also choose to commemorate the holiday by dressing up in costume. One of the most popular costume choices is the La Catrina, describes ABC News.

The legend goes that La Catrina was a selfish, greedy rich woman who did nothing to help the poor and is subsequently mocked now every year.

Dia de los Muertos celebrators will dress in ornate, layered garb and paint their faces white with colored detailing around their eyes and mouths. The purpose is to look like a caricature of a skeleton.

No place on Earth do the dead receive such a warm and festive welcome from the living than during the observance of el Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, California-based academic Ray Hill told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Here are some photos from the Dia de los Muertos 2011 celebrations.