Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Our students will be learning about Dia de Muertos this week! Day of the Dead in Mexico is not a mournful commemoration but a happy and colorful celebration.  Please join us this Wednesday morning at 7:45 am to see a presentation about this tradition from Maestra Mercedes!  Below is a summary, in English and Spanish.

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In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated starting October 31st, the day of the young souls. November 1st is the day of all the saints (All Saints Day) and November 2nd the day of all the adult souls.

Celebrado el 31 de octubre (Día de las Almas Jóvenes), 1 de noviembre (Día de Todos los Santos) y 2 de noviembre (Día de Todas las Almas).

The Day of the Dead is one of the most important celebrations in Mexico in which Mexicans honor their relatives that have died. Eventhough the way of celebrating it varies from state to state, all celebrations share several things. This celebration is an incredible manifestation of Mexican culture and traditon.

El Día de Muertos es una de las fiestas más importantes de México en la que se rinde homenaje a los difuntos. Aunque las tradiciones varían de un Estado a otro, comparten características uniformes que convierten esta celebración en una manifestación increíble de cultura y tradición.

Since the prehispanic times, Mexicans believe that the souls of their love ones come to visit them every year. They eat and drink the things they used to like. For that purpose, families prepare an altar in which they put the pictures, candles, flowers, and a their favorite food. The families decorate the altar with colored paper and cempasúchil flower (marygolds). Families also decorate the graves with flowers, candels and food. Some families stay at the cemetery all night, so the soul could see them and feel their love.

Desde tiempos prehispánicos, se tiene la creencia de que las almas vuelven a visitar a sus familiares y comen y beben como hacían cuando estaban vivos. Los familiares les brindan ofrendas, en altares decorados típicamente con cempasúchil, velas, fotografías de los difuntos, y sus comidas y bebidas favoritas junto con otros objetos.

The skeletons and skulls are part of the celebration, originally, they were represented in prehispanic mexican art, mainly by the Aztecs. Nowadays the families put sugar skulls on the altar. These skulls are decorated with sugar flowers of different colors and on the forehead the name of the dead or of any member of the family is written on it. This skull can also be given as Day of the Dead present to family and friends. Sometimes these skulls are made of chocolate.

Las calaveras son una parte importante de la celebración del Día de Muertos. Originalmente, las calaveras y los esqueletos eran representados en el arte prehispánico mexicano, particularmente en la civilización Azteca. Las calaveras además son pieza importante en la configuración del altar, que se decora con diferentes colores. Los nombres pueden añadirse a las calaveras y los niños se los intercambian con los amigos.

Other important element of this celebration is the Pan de Muerto. This bread is made of wheat flour, butter, eggs, anise, and orange peel. The bread is decorated with stripes to resemble bones. It is a tradition for the families to gather around the table to share this bread, a pumpkin dessert, and hot chocolate.

Otro básico en esta fiesta es el pan de muertos, hecho con anís, azúcar, mantequilla, huevos, harina, levadura y piel de naranja, y decorado con tiras simulando los huesos. Es una tradición de las familias reunirse para compartir el pan en recuerdo de sus familiares desaparecidos. Otro postre tradicional es la sabrosa calabaza en tacha, preparada con canela y azúcar moreno.

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