Just so you know, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. This comes at no additional cost to you but does help me to keep the blog running. Usborne Publishing Ltd. (UK) has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.
What is Day of the Dead Anyway?
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a celebration with its origins in Mexico, is actually a multi-day celebration of life and death that takes place each year from October 31st through November 2nd. The belief is that the gates of Heaven open up and the deceased return to visit their loved ones. The angelitos, or children, return on November 1st while the adult spirits return on the 2nd. As you can imagine the path back to Earth is not an easy one so we build altars, or ofrendas, to guide our loved ones home.
Before you begin:
Dia de los Muertos, has come into more mainstream culture recently due to the popularity of the Disney-Pixar movie, Coco. This is now one of my absolute favorite movies because it is so accurate and does a great job of portraying the essence of this special occasion. This is a great place to stat teaching kids about Dia de los muertos. You can also read about it with them in this kid-friendly text, that is available in English and Spanish at two different levels in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, here . This text can be used in the classroom and can be accompanied by the activity bundle which is currently only available in Spanish here. At home, you can read it with your little one and use it like a coloring book. I’ve also compiled a list of children’s books that are about Dia de los Muertos. You can read more about them here.
After learning about Día de los Muertos you can build an ofrenda. Your ofrenda can be as big or as small as your space will allow. Traditional ofrendas consist of three levels so you will need to use a table and an overturned box or crate that you will place on top. The floor, which will be your lowest level represents the underworld or hell. The table, which will be the middle level, represents the Earth. The overturned box is the highest level which represents the heavens. You’re going to cover the table and the box with tablecloths. You can also use sarapes or brightly colored fabrics.
The Three Levels of Your Ofrenda