El Día de los Muertos

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El Día de los Muertos

  1. 1. This special holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and Central America dates back to the Aztecs. It is a time when the souls of the departed return to earth for a visit and from October 31 to November 2 families join together in remembrance of their loved ones. Lasky, Kathryn, Days of the Dead, Hyperion Books for Children, 1994.
  2. 2. Families visit graveyards, clean & repaint the graves of their loved ones, bring offerings, light candles, & share the family news of the past year during the night vigil. Lasky, Kathryn, Days of the Dead, Hyperion Books for Children, 1994.
  3. 3. Families also construct altars (ofrendas) in their homes to honor their deceased loved ones.
  4. 4. Flowers, especially marigolds decorate the ofrendas. The marigold (zempasuchil) has a brilliant yellow-orange color and is considered the symbolic flower of death to the Aztecs. Perhaps because once the marigold is cut, it dies very quickly. The petals of the flowers are also scattered along paths from the graves to the altars so the dead souls can find their way home.
  5. 5. Candles, besides their religious symbolism, are placed on the ofrenda to light and guide the way of the souls to the altar. Copal incense is also burned to help the souls find their way home.
  6. 6. Typical foods found on Day of the Dead altars are chocolate, fruit, favorite foods of the deceased, mole (a thick sauce made from chilies), tamales, atole (an ancient drink made from cornmeal & water), water (for the thirsty souls after their long journey), and traditional liquors.
  7. 7. Tamales consist of corn masa filled with shredded meat, vegetables or fruit, then wrapped with corn husks and steamed or baked. Many consider Mole to be the national dish of Mexico. It features a unique blend of flavors and spices including chile powder, nuts, and believe it or not, chocolate!
  8. 8. Pan de muertos (bread of the dead) is a traditional food served on the Day of the Dead. The sweet loaves are decorated with crossed bones and sprinkled with sugar.
  9. 9. Papel Picado is the traditional Mexican art of cut paper. Artists use a hammer and chisel to “punch” designs out of stacks of colored tissue paper--up to 50 layers thick. Designs can portray people, animals, flowers, lettering, and lattice-work. Many papel picado are made especially for the Day of the Dead. The papel picado made for this festival include skeletal figures engaging in everyday activities of the living. Individual banners are strung together to create festive and colorful decorations for the celebration. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1506/papic.html
  10. 10. Alfiñique Sugar Skulls are a traditional folk art from Central and Southern Mexico used to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Sugar skulls are purchased from vendors in the special markets set up before the holiday in the plazas of Mexican villages. The people of Mexico use the sugar skulls to decorate their home altars. Often the name of the deceased is written in colored icing on the skull.
  11. 11. The skulls are made out of a sugar-almond paste that is made with refined sugar, egg whites, and lime juice. The paste is pressed into molds similar to the process of molding clay. The skulls are then decorated with pastel icing and foil decorations. These skulls are also treats for children during this festival. http://www.casabonampak.com/day.html http://www.mexonline.com/OAXACA/muertos2.htm
  12. 12. http://www.azcentral.com/rep/dead/photos/pc1.html Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane, Day of the Dead A Mexican-American Celebration, Holiday House, NY, 1994.
  13. 13. http://www.acabtu.com.mx/diademuertos/hollowsday/thealtar.html Lasky, Kathryn, Days of the Dead, Hyperion Books for Children, 1994. http://www.entropia.com.mx/~jmgil/img/muertitos2.jpg
  14. 14. http://www.csumb.edu/events/dead/altar.html http://www.elpayaso.com/gwater.htm
  15. 15. Whimsical skeleton toys are also popular during this festival. These “calaveras” are made to remind us to take life in a jovial manner because death is inevitable and we are all mortal.
  16. 16. Toys include skeletons with movable legs and coffins with skulls which pop out when one opens them or pulls a string.
  17. 17. Also popular are beaded necklaces, each bead of which is a clay skull.
  18. 18. Parades and festivities greet the dead during this festival. Paraders often wear skeleton costumes or black robes with skull masks. Lasky, Kathryn, Days of the Dead, Hyperion Books for Children, 1994.
  19. 19. The Day of the Dead is not a sad time, but rather it is a time to celebrate life and to remember, and even mock death. The presence of deceased loved ones is thought of as a blessing and brings joy rather than pain to their families. The loved ones have come back for an annual visit, and everyone celebrates. Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane, Day of the Dead A Mexican-American Celebration, Holiday House, NY, 1994.
  20. 20. José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) was a Mexican artist, folk illustrator, and political cartoonist. He produced wonderful illustrations depicting death in the everyday life of Mexican people. His satirical and humorous vision of death has been a source of artistic inspiration for Mexican artists and his art has become almost synonymous with the Day of the Dead.
  21. 21. La Calavera Catrina (the skeleton of the fashionable lady) is the creation of José Guadalupe Posada. Originally he created La Catrina to illustrate the popular song "La cucaracha". Later he used this image to parody overdressed Mexican ladies, that at the time, had an obsession for everything French. Today Catrina is a famed Day of the Dead icon and has been depicted by many artists since she was created by Posada in the late 1800s.
  22. 22. When the holiday is over and the spirits have departed, the families are happy and at peace, knowing they have made the souls of the dead feel loved and remembered. Lasky, Kathryn, Days of the Dead, Hyperion Books for Children, 1994.
  23. 23. We celebrated el Día de los Muertos in many ways in the classroom.
  24. 24. 5th graders made skull mobiles. We hung them in the classroom.
  25. 25. The 6th graders worked very hard making decorations for a typical altar in honor of deceased loved ones.
  26. 26. It was decorated with candles, incense, flowers, sugar skulls, fruit, Bread of the Dead & favorite items of the deceased.
  27. 27. We had a party to celebrate this special festival. For treats we had pan de muertos, corn muffins, Mexican rice, & quesadillas. ¡Delicoso!
  28. 28. The 7th graders decorated sugar skulls to place on the altar.
  29. 29. Of course, the 7th graders also had a little party to celebrate!!
  30. 30. The 8th grade students visited the 1st graders & talked to them about the Day of the Dead. The 1st graders learned about this festival in their classroom & in Art class. Together the students made & decorated dancing skeletons.
  31. 31. The students in the AfterSchool Spanish class also celebrated the Day of the Dead. They read stories, made skull puppets, and made potato skull prints.

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