By Billy Perrigo
November 2, 2017

Today’s Google Doodle pays homage to the Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead,) a centuries-old holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world, including in American-Mexican communities in the U.S.

For centuries, indigenous peoples in Mexico have celebrated and honored death, and the annual celebration on Nov. 2 is a time for the remembrance of ancestors. The festival is not meant to be frightening despite its morbid imagery.

The skeleton of a dog takes a prominent place in this year’s doodle, which was designed by Lydia Nichols. “Dogs are considered spirit guides, bringing souls to their final resting place,” Google said in an accompanying statement.

The doodle also features pictures of decorated skulls, which are traditionally made out of sugar and given as gifts as symbols of life’s vitality. Also pictured are other ofrendas, or offerings to the deceased, such as pictures, flowers and candles.

“This holiday serves as a tremendous source of comfort and community to its observers,” Google said.

Write to Billy Perrigo at billy.perrigo@time.com.

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