Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) is an ancient Mexican tradition that combines the
traditions of the indigenous communities of Mexico with the Catholic traditions brought by the
Spanish to the New World.

Day of the Dead is observed during November on the 1st and 2nd.  

During these days, families celebrate by creating altars to their loved ones, and often they visit
the graveyards of their community to spend the night with the spirits of the deceased.  

In Mexico, the Days of the Dead are not days of mourning; these are days of celebration, and
often the folk art of the Day of the Dead mocks death and plays with the idea of death with silly
skeletons (calacas or calaveras) or skeletons wearing fancy clothes, the famous “Catrina”
popularized by the Mexican artist Posada.  

Mexico popular folk art for the Day of the Dead includes playful clay figures, papel picado (cut
paper) in the form of skeletons, paper mache sculptures, and painted tin skeletons.  

Check out this site from
Duke University for more information on the history of Day of the Dead.

Teacher’s Discovery is a website devoted to producing high quality teacher’s aids at affordable
(and not so affordable) prices. The other day I found
this interesting documentary on their
website about the Day of the Dead

Two students, one from Mexico and one from the U.S., explore the traditions of the Day of the
Dead in the state of Oaxaca. I haven’t seen it for myself, but it looks like a great resource for
students and teachers. The website states that it is suitable for kids in Middle School and High

Their website also has a number of
videos and books about Mexico for teachers.

A quick note also to mention some upcoming Day of the Dead events in the El Paso/Ciudad
Juarez area. The Day of the Dead is one of my favorite festivals in Mexico. It is a rich celebration
that truly reflects Mexico’s mestizo heritage.

I was happy to find
this excellent website with a full list of events for the Day of the Dead in the
Ciudad Juarez/El Paso area
. The events are being held under the theme of “Dia de Muertos:
Two Cities, One Celebration of Life.” There will be 7 days of events, starting on October the 28th
and finishing up on November 4th.

The website has a list of the events, plus an excellent map (PDF file) of where you can attend
events. Free transportation to the events will be provided.

The website also has an excellent page on
the history of the Day of the Dead.

The Day of the Dead in Mexico:
History, Folk Art, Traditions
The Day of the Dead in Mexico:  
History, Folk Art, Traditions

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