El Dia de los Muertos or Day of The Dead is a Latin American holiday that is about honoring and respecting ancestors that have crossed over. Dia de los Muertos which is celebrated on the first and second of November celebrates the circle of life and recognizing death instead of fearing it, It is a day for sharing happy memories of the dead not dwelling on or mourning their absence. Sadly in modern times many families with Latin American roots no longer celebrate the Day of the Dead and instead celebrate the more popular Halloween, which occurs the day before Dia de los Muertos. For parents who wish to continue this time honored and beautiful tradition with their children here are a few easy and traditional ways that you can celebrate Dia de los Muertos together.
How Parents Can Involve Children In Day of The Dead Festivities
Nothing gets children more excited about a holiday than decorating. To help children look forward to celebrating Dia de los Muertos let them help decorate your home for the holiday. Skulls and decorative skeletons and tissue paper flowers can be used to decorate for Day of the Dead and can be purchased or homemade. For an east to make Day of the Dead decoration give children large paper skulls and colorful markers to decorate them with. Encourage them to make lots of bright colorful designs on the skulls. Once finished display the skulls around the room.
Create An Altar
In day of the dead celebrations altars are erected to remember or honor relatives and ancestors who have passed on. Typically these altars include a picture of those being remembered, items they were fond of, something to eat, candles, flowers and small gifts. alters can also include religious icons,sugar skulls, toy skeletons, Alcohol and even soap water and small towels for the spirits to clean up with. Parents can get children involved in creating the alter by asking them to help think of things the deceased like, find pictures of the deceased and help set up the items selected on the altar.
Visit The Cemetery
Make visiting the cemetery to honor and remember deceased relatives a family affair by bringing the children along. Many families bring a picnic lunch to the cemetery to enjoy as they clean up and decorate the grave sites of family members who have passed over. While at the cemetery spend some time talking about the relatives who are buried there, Sharing stories about relatives who have died is a great way to give children a sense of continuity and keep alive memories of those who have passed.
Prepare A Special Dinner
Many families prepare a special Day of The Dead feast and invite family and friends over to celebrate the lives of those who have departed. Traditionally dinner foods include favorite dishes of those who have passed on in hopes that their spirits will stop for a visit. Some other traditional foods that are also prepared are moles, tamales, pan de muerto also known as bread of the dead, candied pumpkin and sugar skulls. Parents can involve children in the dinner festivities by letting them help with setting the table, making sure to include a place setting for each relative who is being remembered at the dinner celebration. Children can also help in the preparation and serving of foods which will be served.
Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful Latin American custom that shouldn’t be forgotten by parents or their children. What better way to honor and remember relatives that have passed and teach children that death is only a part of the circle of life and not something to be feared.
Day of the Dead El Dia de Muertos How It Is Celebrated Today, History and Origins written by May Herz