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31 Oct Mexico, Day of the Dead

Festivals and Festivities: Day of the Dead from Mexico

Mexico: Dia de Muertos 1 y 2 noviembre

 I have always been fascinated by festivities based on ancient traditions and one of my favourites is “Day of the Dead” from Mexico. I wanted to develop a storytelling based on this tradition, in a very sensitive and endearing way to make it suitable for children and to help Spanish teachers share this tradition with their pupils.

Day of the Dead takes place on 1st November for children and on 2nd November for adults. Mexican families prepare offerings to invite their deceased relatives to visit their homes. This is done to celebrate and reminisce family memories from the past and to demonstrate how much we miss them.

 

Calaquita preparada en el Dia de Muertos para encontrarse con su abuela Calaca.There are so many stories surrounding this festivity and we wanted to explore some of these with children through an interactive storytelling which includes :

– Day of the dead origins from Aztec and Mayan civilizations

– The Mayan god “Ah Puch”

– The legend of Monarch butterflies

– Catrina, our main character

– Cheerful Mexican music

– Mexican dancing

– Altar

The result is “Mexico, Past Life Party” storytelling

 

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-20-47-22Calaquita prepares to meet her grandmother “Calaca” every year on 1st & 2nd November. She explains how her family has been responsible for this exciting job for generations, being passed down from grandmothers to granddaughters. They accompany dead people to the other dimension (heaven), happy and content in the knowlegde that every year, they will return to see their family on the Day of the Dead.

The details of this festival are exciting and very important, and we create a journey full of colour and symbolism, from the characterization of Catrina with make-up and typical costumes, to gods and all the elements of the Altar.
Spanish vocabulary and learning centers around: colours, numbers, parts of the body, cardinal points, family members, everyday objects, exclamations of fear, etc …

In this video about skulls, you can learn the time, numbers and vocabulary through rhyme. The video is subtitled in Spanish for children with a more basic knowledge of Spanish:

Calaveras – Chumba the cachumba

 

Resources for Spanish class and Day of the Dead:

We can also make a craft while using language during the lesson, for example making Cempasúnchil flowers, colouring Catrina or making coourful confetti to decorate the school hall.

Video on how to make flowers Cempasúnchil

Video on how to make papel picado

 

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-12-49-04

 

I hope you enjoyed it and  you can use the resources in your Spanish classes.