Scented Light: The Role of Candles and Fragrances in Day of the Dead Celebrations

At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we delve into the rich cultural tapestries that define our world, exploring how our products can enhance and participate in these traditions. Among the most vivid and poignant of these is the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), a festival originating in Mexico that honors deceased loved ones. This blog post explores the integral role of candles and specific scents during this vibrant festival.

1. Illuminating Pathways with Candles

Guiding Spirits with Light
During the Day of the Dead, candles are placed on altars (ofrendas) and gravesites. Their light is believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to the world of the living to join the festive celebration. These candles are not only functional but also symbolic, representing hope and the enduring connection between the living and the deceased.

Colour Significance
Candles used during the Day of the Dead often vary in colour, each adding a layer of meaning to the ritual. White candles signify purity and renewal, while purple represents mourning. The brightness of these candles against the night sky creates a serene yet celebratory atmosphere that is essential to the festival’s ambiance.

2. Fragrances as Spiritual Essence

Marigold – The Scent of the Soul
The marigold, or cempasúchil, is the traditional flower used during the Day of the Dead. Its vibrant orange blossoms and pungent scent are thought to attract the souls of the dead to the offerings prepared for them. Incorporating marigold in scented candles can bring this essential aroma into homes and gatherings, making the connection to the festival’s traditions even stronger.

Copal Incense – Cleansing and Honoring
Copal, a resin used since ancient times in Mesoamerica, is burned along with candles. Its heavy, sweet smoke is said to purify the area of evil spirits and welcome the ancestral spirits. Scented candles that mimic the essence of copal offer a way to integrate this ancient tradition into modern Day of the Dead observances.

3. Contemporary Celebrations

Personal and Artistic Expressions
Today, people personalize their Day of the Dead celebrations by adding scented candles that reflect their loved ones’ favorite fragrances. From the soothing aroma of vanilla to the invigorating presence of citrus, these scents help personalize rituals and can evoke memories of the deceased.

Community and Family Gatherings
Candles and scents play a vital role in the communal aspect of the Day of the Dead. They are central to gatherings and processions, creating a sensory experience that unites communities and families in remembrance and celebration.


The Day of the Dead is a profound testament to the power of rituals and the role of sensory elements like candles and scents in cultural practices. At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we honor this tradition by crafting candles that are not only a source of light but also a medium for memory and celebration. Discover our specially curated collection of Day of the Dead candles and embrace the warmth and beauty of this timeless festival.