Feliz Dia de los Muertos — or “Happy Day of the Dead,” if you are an English-speaker.
Dia de los Muertos is a very important Mexican holiday for remembering loved ones and ancestors who have passed on, and it falls on November 1-2 each year. The holiday is a mixture of indigenous Mexican traditions and the religion of Catholicism, which celebrates All Saints Day on the same date, and was introduced when Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico many years ago. Though the holiday falls right after Halloween, and the images we see that are related to Dia de los Muertos – like skeletons and skulls – may seem spooky, Dia de los Muertos is not a “scary” holiday. Rather, it is a beautiful tradition of celebration and joy to honor those we love and miss.
On November 1, families honor deceased children and babies, and on the 2nd, they honor adults who have died. Mexican people who celebrate the holiday may build a little altar in their homes to honor the memory of their dead, or they might take a picnic to the cemetery where their family members are buried and spend the night eating, drinking, playing music, and sharing memories of those they have lost. They may also exchange sweets and sugar skulls on the occasion, or leave them on the graves for their deceased friends and family members’ spirits to take back to the afterlife.
Many people associate sugar skulls with Dia de los Muertos. These are actually candies that are shaped like skulls and painted with pretty patterns in icing. Some people paint their faces like sugar skulls. On this Dia de los Muertos, do you have a special person to remember? What are your very favorite memories of those people?
Sugar Skulls coloring page — digital version (small, jpg) – click to enlarge the image on the left.