This week, students in Señora García-Levitas’s first and second grade classes celebrated El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). El Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2 nd in Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries in Central and South America. It combines the ancient Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors with Spanish traditions that were brought to Mexico in the early 1500’s. During this time, families visit cemeteries, planting flowers and decorating the headstones of their loved ones. Families
also bring the deceased’s favorite foods to the cemetery, to be eaten by the family. The atmosphere is a happy and festive one, because it is believed that the spirits of their departed relatives have gone on to a better life. Families spend the night between November 1st and 2nd in the cemeteries, eating, dancing, and spending time with friends and relatives. Other activities include parades of skeletons in the street, special plays in the park, and some families create altars in their homes in honor of their loved ones. Students learned that Día de los Muertos is a joyful time that helps people remember their loved, honor their memory, and celebrate life.
Last week, students learned some important facts about Mexico. They learned about the history of the country, its indigenous roots and about different foods that originated there, such as chocolate, coffee, and corn. For our Día de los Muertos class, students learned about how the holiday is honored in various countries and watched videos about how children celebrate the holiday. Students also learned about how Día de los Muertos is celebrated outside of Mexico, in Ecuador. One family that celebrates El Día de los Muertos supported our time in class this week by sharing individually wrapped guaguas de pan (bread babies), a special sweet bread eaten on this holiday in Ecuador for the first and second grade classes to enjoy. Students also designed their own foam sugar skull using a magnet craft kit. The first and second grade students enjoyed learning about this interesting holiday, honoring their loved ones, and having a lot of fun in the process.