Día de Muertos is a primarily Mexican celebration of the dead which takes place October 31-November 2. It came about from the merging of All Saints Day traditions brought over by the Spanish with the native Aztec beliefs that were in place long before they arrival of Catholicism.
As opposed to the solemn All Saints Day remembrances elsewhere in the Americas, Día de los Muertos is a joyful tradition when families get to honor their lost loved ones, and has it has tremendous religious and cultural significance to the people who celebrate it.
However, I am not from a culture which celebrates Día de Muertos and my experience extends little beyond the movie Coco. As such, I believe it’s my place to make sure my kids have an understanding of the holiday and the culture surrounding it, but that I should not be the one to teach it.
Luckily, the internet is full of latina/os who want to share their tradition with children around the world! So I’ll keep things here short so you can check them out instead.
D is for Día de Muertos
- Monica at Mommy Maestra shares a brief history of Día de los Muertos, as well as craft options for little ones if you are a family who celebrates.*
- GuiaInfantil.com is a Spanish-language publication for families that even goes into the pre-Hispanic origins and the significance of many of the traditions. Click here for an approximate translation into English from Google.
- Bilingual website Spanglishbaby.com offers their free ebook Ofrendas, featuring recipes from latina bloggers to celebrate the holiday.
- Rockalingua, a program designed to teach Spanish with fun music and activities offers a music video about Día de los Muertos as well as a worksheet to teach both about the holiday and some Spanish as well. The worksheet has the lyrics to the song and corresponding pictures to color in. So fun!
- Speaking of art, artist Norma Gomez of Little Honey Bee Studios shares a ton of artwork on her Día de los Muertos Pinterest page, both from her own work and that of other artists.
*If you are not from a culture that celebrates Día de Muertos, there’s still plenty of fun to be had! Instead of crafts such as making calaveras, remember that honoring the dead is a tradition found in all cultures, so look into a way you can do it to support your own heritage. Make an altar in your own tradition instead of a Mexican ofrenda and offer up your own comfort foods to your ancestors!