Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a day to celebrate the memory of family and friends who have passed away. It is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The Day of the Dead is a holiday over 500 years old that was brought to Mexico by Spanish invaders. At the time, it was known as “All Souls’ Day.” Even though the Day of the Dead has some similarities to Halloween, it isn’t a scary or sad holiday. Instead, it’s a joyful and exciting holiday where people create offerings, or “ofrenda” in Spanish, for relatives who have passed away. Ofrendas are usually candlelit altars decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds, pictures of the deceased, and their favorite things when they were alive (like their favorite foods or their jewelry). The ofrendas are put together in order to guide relatives back home for the holiday.
A popular decoration during the holiday are skeletons! They are often made out of paper mache, plastic, or clay and are brightly colored. They aren’t meant to be scary, and usually have hats and other decorations and are set up in fun poses (such as dancing or singing)!
Sugar skulls are made from sugar and decorated with icing, feathers, foil, and more. Although they are made from sugar and icing, they are not meant to be eaten. However, some companies manufacture candy versions of sugar skills that are sold as a treat. Download the sugar skulls handout to draw your own sugar skull!
Marigolds are the most common flower used on the Day of the Dead. They are usually placed on graves or ofrendas because their bright color and strong scent will help to guide relatives home. They also represent life. Download the marigold handout to create your own tissue paper marigolds!