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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Día de los Muertos, chez nous

"Day of the Dead, at our place" 
(affiliate links included, for convenience)
We always enjoy learning about different traditions and holidays from around the world (like this one). So, given that we spent years living just a stone's throw distance from Mexico, and that Kam's culture shares the same holiday, I don't know how Día de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead," hasn't made our radar screen until now.

This year, thanks to a quirky looking book on prominent display at the local library, Día de los Muertos has made it to our house. Mag inherited Kam's inclination toward the cutsied-up macabre (think Jack Skellington and the like), and thus was captivated by The Dead Family Diaz, by P.J. Bracegirdle. This book instantly rocketed to the top of our short list of family faves, primarily for the visuals, but the story is equally amusing.

The Dead Family Diaz inspired us to delve deeper into the traditions of the día. We spent some time learning the vocabulary of the holiday, and even created and completed a few related worksheets, incorporating the fun theme into math and early literacy practice for Mag's dual language endeavor. (This kindergarten-level Spanish packet is available at my TpT store, here.)

Once familiar with the new vocab, Mag was also enthralled by Calavera Abecedario, by Jeanette Winter, although The Diaz storybook still tops my list.

Of course, the highlight of any event is the food, right? When frosting cookies for Halloween, we kept a few "calavera" (skull) cookies aside, which we frosted, Muertos-style, tonight, getting ready for the big day. We'll also head to a nearby Mexican grocer to pick up some "pan de muerto" (which we will eat, rather than leave at a cemetery), as well as indulging in horchata - recipe. Okay, I have no reason to believe horchata is part of the tradition of the day... or that it isn't, for that matter. We just like to include it in any Mexican-related event at our house. (We also love agua fresca -recipe-, but the MidWest fall weather puts one in more of an horchata mood.)

For a first Día de los Muertos celebration, I could almost leave it at books, food, and worksheets... but somehow crafts just seem to be calling out to be included.

I love the calavera sun catcher from Mari (remember her fab tooth fairy certificates from this post), and of course we'll be making some papel picado (seen at right). Photo released by Guillerminargp

el Próximo Año

We're having such a good time with Día de los Muertos this week that I can't fit it all in... so here's what I've already got in the line-up for next year:
I guess it's time to get a 2014 calendar, because I see a party taking shape already, 367 days in advance!


  1. Dia de los Muertos has to be one of my favorite celebrations of all the countries I have explored with my family - and we continue to honor it, to some degree or another (mid week/school nights are tricky). The drink we particularly enjoy is Atole - a cornmeal based warm drink with brown sugar..so good on chilly autumn evenings here. "The Dead Family Diaz" looks great - we'll be checking that out!

    1. I am making a mental note on Atole. I've seen it, but never tried it. We're just hitting the perfect season for it, it seems. Thanks for the inspiration!