Every year in many parts of Mexico, but especially in the traditional south of the country, revellers wear colourful costumes, hold pageants and parties, sing, dance and offer gifts to the departed. In 2008, UNESCO included the "Dia de los Muertos" in its representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Although the festivities are celebrated by almost all Mexicans today, they date back several thousand years to the region's indigenous people. In the cultures of the Aztecs, Maya and other peoples, mourning the dead was considered disrespectful. For them, death was a natural phase in the life cycle, and the deceased were symbolically kept alive in spirit and memories. During Hanal Pixán, as the Mayan festival is called, the souls of the dead are believed to return to the realm of the living temporarily.