I grew up with the holiday, the Day of the Dead, and because of that sometimes I forget that the artwork can appear frightening to some folks. One guy thought I was a George Romero fan who had gone too far.
Some people think Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is about life after death, but that isn’t quite true. The Aztecs believed this life was just a dream and that the next life was the real one, so to their understanding it would be the waking life, as opposed to the dream life we are currently experiencing. This is quite similar to the Aboriginal way of thinking.
But with the forced incorporation of Christianity into the mix, the ideas behind the holiday have become muddled and mean different things to different people. In Mexico different towns can have different celebrations according to their local customs, although the holiday is always celebrated on November 1st and 2nd.
One thing is clear, Day of the Dead is never intended to be a mournful or harrowing experience. It is always a way of honoring those no longer with us and keeping, family, friends and loved ones together regardless of which existence they are currently experiencing.