Cultural Studies: Teach Your Charges about The Day of the Dead

Photo by laihiu Via Flickr Creative Commons. by jul sarte

Halloween isn’t the only mid-autumn holiday with elements of spookiness to it. The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated between October 31 and November 2. But instead of costumes and candy, The Day of the Dead is a more traditional part of Mexican heritage, a holiday for celebrating the memory of the family members and friends who have passed away.

Many Mexican families celebrate by building an altar in their home and decorating it with pictures, food, flowers, and personal belongings of the deceased. It is also common for people to light up some candles on a table and pray. Many also observe the holiday by going to the cemetery with flowers and greeting cards, cleaning the tombs, and listening to the village band. The family members talk about the people who have passed, sing songs, eat their favorite foods, and smoke cigars. The Mexicans believe that the dead people they are remembering during the Day of the Dead will come from heaven and party with them for the duration of the holiday. The Day of the Dead is a colorful and happy holiday even though there may be sadness at its core.

Photo by Glen's Pics via Flickr Creative Commons.

Sugar skulls are a big part of the Day of the Dead tradition. Flowers, coloring, and playing are also important that day. Teach the youngsters in your care about world cultures by getting crafty and creating some of the staples of this Mexican holiday with your charges.

After you’ve researched the Day of the Dead online with your charges, check out these three activities for some Day of the Dead fun. Build an altar, make sugar skulls, and create beautiful paper flowers with your charges.