Day of the Dead
I have to admit, the first time I heard about a celebration called “Day of the Dead”, I thought it meant focusing on death(!) Then I got curious, activated my courage, and found out more. It turns out, Day of the Dead is a holiday of joyous celebration!
Day of the dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a multi-day holiday for friends and family to get together to remember loved ones who have died. The holiday is meant to be joyful and people often remember funny events and stories about those who have passed on.
Here are some traditional ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead:
Make Calaveras: A calavera is any artistic representation of a skull or skeleton. It can be edible or decorative. It is usually made from sugar or clay and decorated with things like colored foil, paint, icing, beads, and feathers.
Decorate with Marigold Flowers (cempazuchitl): It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit during the Day of the Dead and that marigolds guide the souls to their family home. The name cempazuchitl means “the flower of twenty petals”. According to legend, the sun god gifted the marigold to the people so that they could honor the dead.
The Day of the Dead isn’t only about remembering the dead. It is also a day for friends to give gifts like sugar skulls, to share pan de muerto (a sweet bun decorated with pieces shaped like bones), and to write irreverent poems called calaveras literarias (skull literature) to tease both the dead and the living. Calaveras literarias pokes fun at a person’s shortcomings and at the inevitability of death itself.
If this is your first time celebrating Day of the Dead, find a friend who already knows how to celebrate and maybe even bring them a gift of a skull puzzle!
I did "Doodle Skull" about a month ago. It was fun to see all the funky doodles come together, though the black bits were trickier & time consuming.