Monday, November 3, 2008

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead altar at Abbott's school

Last week Abbott's school celebrated the Day of the Dead. Here is an email from his Spanish teacher explaining the event:

"Dear Parents
I would like to inform you that next week we will be celebrating the Day of
the Dead
 "El dia de los muertos". It is voluntary for the children to bring
offerings for the altar that we will prepare. They can bring a picture or
photograph of a relative or pet that they want to honor and remember who has
passed into the next world. They will tell the class why that person or pet
was so special to them. They can also bring Marigold flowers. Day of the
is celebrated not only in Latin American countries like Mexico, Peru
and Guatemala, but here in the United States in certain cities like East Los
, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Antonio, etc. Spanish speakers in
these cities preserve the basic tradition of Day of the Dead. It is a
celebration not only to death, but also to life, as families prepare a
special altar in their homes for the Day of the Dead celebration, honoring a
specific family member or members. In Mexico, sugar skulls, marigold flowers
"zempasuchiil," tissue paper cut-outs "paper picado" and candles are
traditionally used to decorate the altars. They also make bread of the dead
"pan de muertos." They put out some fruits and nuts and on the Day of the
Dead they cook the traditional food that the deceased used to eat. You are
welcome to come see our altar. Remember that it is voluntary for the
children to bring any offerings.

Muchas gracias."

Abbott brought in pictures of our cat, Piper, his great Grandfather, and his great Grandmother.


KPiep said...

That is very sweet! I can't imagine our schools allowing such a celebration (with all of the efforts to not offend anyone at all with any hint of religious/spiritual feeling), and so I think your son is a very lucky boy to have such an opportunity.

Joyce said...

Ohhhh.... this is so special!!! I am glad the school system allows such a celebration too. Look I even learned something reading your blog!!
Thank you my friend for sharing.

Abbott, I hope your day is a great celebration of your love ones. I wish I could hear you tell your class about Piper, your great grandfather and your great grandmother. Hmmm... does this mean you have to eat cat food?? Just kidding! Hugs my little friend!!

Ina J Offret said...

I learned something here too! Thanks Abbott for having a diversified program at school! Hugs to all teachers!

pve design said...

Wow, what a great teacher to teach them about this.

Sarah said...

The papel picado is gorgeous! I wonder if the children got to help cut it. We did an altar like this in college in a club for Latin American students. We set it up at the student union (and even for liberal arts college students it caused controversy). That's wonderful that Abbot gets introduced to this custom at his school!

Crystal said...

What a wonderful cultural education your son is getting. I love the brightly colored fabrics hung here.

Thanks for visiting my blog - I hope you will enjoy the Compassion bloggers tour. It's pretty amazing when they start sharing pictures of kids.

Fifi Flowers said...

I remember these projects! Good job!
Last time I worked on one of these was college... that art students had to do displays every year... FUN!!!
ENJOY your day!

Maria Rose said...

I loooove Dia de lost muertos. Strangely there was a big festival in Missoula, MT every year. I have missed it terribly since moving away.

please sir said...

Aww such a sweet way to learn!

KnitterMama said...

thanks for the comments. we celebrated all saints yesterday too. i remembered my husband's grandfather Rocco Arena, my grandma Purzycki and my grandpa Purzycki.

Broady said...

I remember learning about Day of the Dead in my high school spanish classes, and looked forward to celebrating it each year in the same manner that Abbot's school does! Visiting Mexico to witness the actual "Dia de los Muertos" is on my husband's and my life list!

nea said...

thank you for visiting my blog! your son is adorable! so is the celebration. in your last post, you note those you remember. what a special post.