El Dia de los Muertos

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today is El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), a Mexican celebration to remember  those who have departed. On this day in Mexico, the streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations of papel picado, flowers, candy calaveras (skeletons and skulls), and parades.

It is believed that the spirit of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2. In order to celebrate, the families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of food such as pan de muertos baked in shapes of skulls and figures, candles, incense, yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl (also spelled zempasuchil) and most importantly a photo of the departed soul is placed on the altar.

Check out a recipe for calaveras (sugar skulls) here.

Make a Day of the Dead skeleton puppet here.

The Smithsonian has a fabulous and kid-friendly site for more information on El Dia de los Muertos. Check it out here.

Looking for books on this holiday?  You might want to try these:

Clatter Bash: A Day of the Dead Celebration by Richard Clemenson Keep (P KEE)

Maria Molina and the Days of the Dead by Kathleen Krull (P KRU)

Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead by George Ancona (J 393.9 ANC)
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