Almost 300,000 Day of the Dead flowers are sold in just 3 days by a single family in Mexico. Here's how they made a successful business out of the festivities.

Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty ImagesThe traditional flowers called cempasúchitles are placed on altars and tombs across Mexico and beyond.
  • Day of the Dead is a tradition that has been going on for more than 3,000 years.
  • It’s a Mexicancelebration of the deceased that begins on October 31 and lasts until November 2.
  • Each year families and loved ones use a special flower called cempasúchitl to honour the loved ones who have passed on.
  • The Telésforo family in Mexico City grows and sells this flower every year and has made a successful business out of it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration for those who have passed on.

VideoblockPeople gather to light candles and put out flowers to honour their passed loved ones.

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It’s a tradition that has been going on for nearly 3,000 years.

Blacklight Productions/Getty ImagesDay of the Dead celebrations in the streets of Mexico.

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In Mexico, a particular flower plays a big role in the celebrations.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThis flower is a special way to honour deceased loved ones.

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The flowers are called cempasúchiles.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThe cempasúchil flower is usually a vibrant yellow colour.

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Over hundreds of thousands of cempasúchiles are sold this time of year.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderFlower markets are very busy at the end of October.

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Cempasúchiles are placed on altars and tombstones.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderFarmers preparing flowers for the Day of the Dead celebration.

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Female dancers, often dressed as the skeleton la catrina, also sometimes wear crowns made from cempasúchitles.

Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/Getty ImagesA young girl carrying a basket of cempasuchil flowers.

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The flowers are meant to guide the spirits back to their homes to be reunited with their loved ones.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderDay of the Dead flower petals.

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For the past 30 years, the Telésforo family has grown and cultivated these flowers in Mexico City.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThe Telésforo family posing in front of their farm.

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The family business has seen a spike in flower sales recently, as the Day of the Dead has transformed from a religious holiday to a popular worldly celebration.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThe selling of these flowers is a consistent business in Mexico.

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This holiday’s celebrations start at the end of October and continue through the first week of November.

Blacklight Productions/Getty ImagesOrnate costumes and makeup is used to celebrate.

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During this time, the streets are filled with music and ornate costumes…

Blacklight Productions/Getty ImagesCostumes and music fill the streets.

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…and the markets are flooded with flowers.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderMarkets work hard to keep up with the demand of these flowers.

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The Telésforo family starts preparing two months before the holiday begins.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderPrepping the flowers for the Day of the Dead celebrations.

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Preparation involves planting over 150,000 seeds.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderPreparing for the growing of the flowers takes time.

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Less than 15 employees spend about eight hours a day watering the land.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderA family member watering the flowers.

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It’s a job that involves the entire family.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderEvery family member helps harvest the flowers.

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“On a normal day the sun rays wake us up,” Rodolfo Telésforo told Business Insider. “We come, then we sow, we work, we water…”

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderA member of the Telésforo family.

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“…and the sun itself tells us when we should go to rest at home,” he said.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderA family member picking out some of the flowers that have bloomed.

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The Telésforo family has tried to increase their production by around 20% every year.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderA young family member picking some flowers.

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“Year after year we exceed expectations, the production is increasing. Every year we sow a little more,” Martin Telésforo said.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderMartin Telésforo is the patriarch of the family business.

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Last year, the family sold over 230,000 flowers.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderDay of the Dead is a big opportunity for the family business to make money.

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This year, the Telésforo hopes to sell more than 300,000.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThe family hopes to increase their business each year.

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Over 72,000 tons of cempasúchiles were produced in 2018, which is an increase of 380% from the previous year.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderPeople travel to local flower markets to purchase these flowers.

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Experts say that sales of the flower have increased as migration shifted from rural areas towards more metropolitan areas.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderSales of the flowers have recently increased.

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Locally, the flowers in Mexico City’s flower markets sell for around $US1.31 (25 pesos).

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderDay of the Dead has become more of a global tradition in recent years.

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But in Ciudad Juarez, a city just south of El Paso, Texas, the flowers are $US5 (50 pesos).

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderIn certain parts of the country, these flowers vary in price.

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The government estimated in 2016 that Mexicans spent more than $US47 (900 pesos) on the Day of the Dead decorations.

ReutersFace paint and jewels is common for Day of the Dead.

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In addition to cempasúchiles, people celebrating the Day of the Dead also buy pecked paper, sugar skulls, tequila, and the traditional pan de muertos, which is a traditional sweet bread.

Jan Sochor/Getty ImagesSkulls are a popular decoration.

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The celebration of the Day of the Dead allowed the Telésforo family to turn their small farm into a profitable business.

Tortugas al Viento/Business Insider

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“What makes me the proudest is that I’ve been able to elevate my family into a more affluent way of life,” Telésforo told Business Insider.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderThe business will hopefully be passed down to generations.

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In addition to profit, it’s also a source of pride for the family that Mexicans around the country will honour their loved ones with the flowers they grew.

Tortugas al Viento/Business InsiderGrowing these flowers is a special tradition for the Telésforo family.

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And they hope the next generation follows in their footsteps.

Tortugas al Viento/Business Insider

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