Los Dias de los Muertos

img_3757This past week has been a whirlwind of learning about and celebrating one of the most touching/moving/beautiful celebrations I’ve ever experienced ~ the Days of the Dead.

I’ve received a lot of messages from our friends and family at home about whether or not we celebrated Halloween this year. Although Halloween isn’t typically celebrated here in Mexico, we’ve learned that it’s becoming increasingly popular.  Since I was raised in the “Halloween Capitol of the World” ~ Anoka, Minnesota ~ Yes, it’s true for those of you doubting…check it out 🙂 ….we did, of course, celebrate.

Official Website for Anoka Halloween of Anoka, MN

A few nights prior to the actual day, we hosted a small Halloween party with some of the girl’s friends…for most of them, it was their first time ever carving a pumpkin!

We also were able to do a little trick or treating in our neighborhood..

and we went walking on 5th Ave later at night..

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Officially, November 1st is el Dia de los Innocentes, which is celebrated to honor the children who have died.  November 2nd is el Dia de los Muertos, which is the day most of us have heard of before.  Walking around town leading up to these days, it was so interesting to see altars being set up in homes, parks, restaurants and store fronts.  We were also able to visit a HUGE celebration at Xcaret…

The kids were also learning about this meaningful celebration at school and finding out about the symbolism behind the altars and practices.  In all the kid’s school classrooms, they created altars ~ in Andrew and Sophia’s it was a joint effort to create one larger one, but in Anna’s class, each student created a personalized altar for a loved one (person or animal).  Parents got to come visit and hear a presentation in each of the classes. In Anna’s class, we were able to walk around after the presentation and talk individually to each student about their altar and their loved one.  I was so profoundly moved by the altars and the children telling us stories about their uncles, grandmas, grandpas, dogs, bunnies and cats. Anna created one in loving memory of my grandma (her “granmama”), Gert.  Along with candles and marigolds, Anna placed a small handmade recipe book, a small pot of rice pudding and an oven mitt ~ items of food or things the person (or animal) loved are placed on the altar steps.  I have no doubt we will be integrating this celebration deeply into our family rituals moving forward.

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