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Day of the Dead Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

On November 2, many people in parts of Mexico and around the world honor loved ones who are no longer living. In this lesson, learn about the history and traditions of the holiday known as the Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos

For many people in Mexico and other parts of the world, November 2 is a very important day. This is a day set aside to honor and remember relatives and friends who have passed away. This holiday is called the 'Day of the Dead.' In Spanish, the name of the holiday is translated to Día de los Muertos. Another name for this day is All Souls Day.

A market selling skulls for Day of the Dead.
Mexico holiday

Around the end of October, many areas in Mexico begin to prepare for the Day of the Dead. Painted wooden skulls are frequently seen in homes and stores. In fact, skulls are somewhat of an unofficial symbol of the holiday. Sugar skulls, called calaveras de azúcar, are very popular with children. There are even competitions for the most elaborate sugar skull created! These skulls are not meant to be scary, like the ones you see on Halloween. If you look closely at the Day of the Dead skulls, you will notice they have smiles. This is because the memories of those that are gone are happy memories.

Beliefs

People who celebrate the Day of the Dead believe that for a small amount of time their dead loved ones can revisit Earth. They come back to participate in the events that have been prepared for them, and many also believe they come to give wisdom and guidance to those still living.

It is common for people to visit the cemeteries to remember those who have passed away. Often on the Day of the Dead, people will bring candles, flowers and food to lay on the headstones of those they are honoring.

Those celebrating the Day of the Dead often visit cemeteries where their friends and family are buried.
headstones

Preparation is important for the Day of the Dead, and in many cases the cemeteries are cleaned a few days before the holiday is celebrated. Because many of those celebrating the holiday practice the Catholic religion, there are religious services called masses that are held in honor of All Soul's Day as well.

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