Xochimiqueh (flor de los Muertos or flor de los ancestros) is a Nahuatlaca tradition that is now reduced to a celebration that begins on the evening of October 31 and ends on November 2. Our relationship with Mother Death (Mictlancihuatl) is more involved and complex.
Every 20 days in the Tonal Maciotl (Aztec Calendar) there is one day (micailhuitl) dedicated to Miquiztli (Death). And every 260 days Death gets to carry a 13-day count as Ce-Miquiztli. Everyone of the days gets to do that every 260 days.
There is also our Creation story in which Quetzalcoatl goes down into Mictlan and negotiates with Mictlantecutli and Mictlancihuatl to recover the bones of humanity so that we can be part of this present world. In the end it is the blood of his broken bones which restores us to Life.
Then there is the annual migration of the Monarch butterflies which ends in central Mexico at the end of October/beginning of November. These butterflies represent the return of the Spirits, but also the black Monarchs are announcement of death (similar to an owl’s presence).
Xochimiqueh, the flowers of the departed are called Zempoaxochitl (Cempoazuchil), zempoa meaning 20 or the number that describes a complete human being (10 finger + 10 toes = 20). It was by coincidence that the Catholic alteration of the Celtic days of the dead (today known as Halloween), All Saints, and All Souls day coincided with part of our Death tradition and our ancestors were able to preserve some of our Xochimiqueh ceremony.