"In our tradition, people die three deaths," wrote author Victor Landa of San Antonio. "The first death is when our bodies cease to function... The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground... The third death, the most definitive death, is when there is no one left alive to remember us."

In Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and parts of Ecuador, the memory of the deceased is kept alive every year on El Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead.

The tradition is thought to date back to the indigenous practices of the Aztecs, and has been observed for nearly 3,000 years. Relatives create altars in their homes in memory of their loved ones, adorned with food and gifts for the spirit of the deceased. These are later given away to children and visitors in a practice similar to the North American trick-or-treating.

Traditionally, children and infants are remembered on November 1, while adults are honoured on November 2. The festivities are widely celebrated across South America, especially in Mexico were El Dia de los Muertas is a public holiday. El Dia de los Muertos has also proved increasingly popular in some parts of North America.

Remembering the dead is a tradition that spans history, cultures anmd religions. Along with the western celebration of Halloween, similar rituals exist across the world. In China, the Qingming Festival is a day designated to sweep tombs and offer gifts to dead ancestors, while in Japan, the Buddhist Bon Festival is a celebration designed to honour departed spirits. Some cultures in Africa and South America are even known to exhume their dead and maintain their remains as a way of preserving the memory of the deceased.