2021 55¢ Day of the Dead
Value: 58¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 30, 2021
First Day City: El Paso, TX
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 35,000,000
The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a time to celebrate lost loved ones. While the holiday is a relatively modern tradition, its origins date back thousands of years.
The holiday's roots extend back 3,000 years to the Aztec and Nahua people of Mesoamerica. They believed in a cyclical universe and that death was an important part of life. According to tradition, once a person died, they traveled to the Land of the Dead. After several years of journeying through nine challenging levels, their soul could go to the final resting place. In ancient traditions, families left food, water, and other items for the deceased to aid their journey. Traditionally, this was done in August. After Spain colonized Mexico, they adapted these customs to fit their own Christian traditions. The celebrations were moved to November 1 and 2 to coincide with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Over the years, celebrations became larger and more lavish. Today, friends and families decorate gravestones and altars to help the deceased find their way to these celebrations. People dance through the streets in skeleton face paint and colorful skulls adorn decorations, treats, and more. One of the holiday's most prominent visuals, skulls and skeletons are shown happy and dancing, symbolizing a joyous afterlife.