Thursday, October 8, 2009

Día de los Muertos is Around the Corner!

Last year I spent the month of October celebrating Día de los Muertos on Mi Cielito Lindo. This year, I'm at it again. I hope you enjoy the activities and products I've found to help you celebrate our holiday!

To begin, let's just catch up on what exactly it is we are celebrating....

A blending of ancient Aztec and Spanish Catholic beliefs, Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in conjunction with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It is basically a time during which we remember our family members and other loved ones who have passed away.

Despite its Mexican roots, the holiday is now celebrated throughout the world in various forms, but most especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Individuals celebrate the day in a variety of ways. Some visit the cemetery to clean and decorate graves. The decorations may consist of flowers – especially orange marigolds – and other "ofrendas" (offerings) such as toys, drinks, candies and trinkets.

These ofrendas are laid out in homes as well, where small altars are often erected for the occasion. The altars are not to worship, but rather a tribute or way to remember and honor the deceased’s memory. They are generally decorated with items such as the loved one’s photograph, candles, favorite foods and drinks, memorabilia, a Christian cross, images of la Virgen, etc. Skeletons placed upon the altar are intended to be silly and humorous, not scary or lacking in respect. In fact, it is believed that the dead consider it disrespectful to be greeted at the altar by a grieving friend/family.

Several children's books have been written with Día de los Muertos as the topic. In fact, the Latin Baby Book Club's Libro del Mes is Calavera Abecedario by Jeanette Winter (shown above.) It is a lively story based on a real artistic family in Mexico. To check out their review of this book, click here.

Other fabulous Día de los Muertos related children's books include Yuyi Morales' Just a Minute: An Trickster Tale and Counting Book and it's companion book, Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book; Luis San Vicente's Festival of Bones/El Festival de las Calaveras; and Tony Johnston's Day of the Dead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for sharing!

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