Celebrate Day of the Dead | In & Around the Quad Cities

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As the leaves turn golden and autumn unfolds, there’s a rich tapestry of cultural celebrations around the world, and one of the most vibrant and colorful among them is the Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. For those unfamiliar with this tradition, or for those looking to immerse their families more deeply, here’s a glimpse into this remarkable celebration and ways you can introduce it to your children.

What is Día de los Muertos?

Originating in Mexico but celebrated in various forms across Latin America, Día de los Muertos is a two-day celebration, typically beginning on November 1st and ending on November 2nd. Far from the spooky or gloomy connotations that the name might suggest, this is a lively celebration of life and a way to honor deceased loved ones, remembering them with joy and affection.

Why It’s More than Just “Mexican Halloween”

Though it may coincide with Halloween on the calendar, Día de los Muertos isn’t about costumes or candy in the same sense. Instead, it’s a blend of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism. Families create altars, or ofrendas, adorned with candles, marigolds (the flower of the dead), photos of the departed, and their favorite foods and beverages. It’s believed that the spirits of loved ones return during this time, and these offerings are a way to welcome them back and celebrate their lives.

Bringing Día de los Muertos into Your Home

1. Craft Time: Sugar Skulls and Papel Picado
Engage your children in creating sugar skulls (calaveras). These aren’t for eating but are decorative items often placed on altars. Papel picado, intricate paper cutouts that represent the fragility of life, is another craft your kids might enjoy making.

2. Family Altar (Ofrenda)
Create a family altar in a corner of your home. Let your kids participate by placing photos, flowers, and memorabilia of departed family members or beloved pets. This is a beautiful way to talk about family history and share stories of ancestors.

3. Bake Pan de Muerto
This “Bread of the Dead” is a delicious sweet bread, often flavored with orange essence and decorated with bone-shaped pieces of dough. Baking it can be a fun family activity and a tasty treat to enjoy together.

4. Read Together
There are many children’s books available that discuss Día de los Muertos in an age-appropriate manner. Reading together can help answer any questions your kids might have.

5. Watch a Movie Pixar’s “Coco” is a heartwarming film that beautifully captures the essence of Día de los Muertos. It’s a great watch for the entire family.

Embracing the Essence

While crafts and activities are fun, the essence of Día de los Muertos is the celebration of life and the understanding of death as a natural part of our journey. It’s an opportunity to open a dialogue with your children about love, loss, and remembrance in a positive and embracing manner.

Remember, Super Moms, in introducing Día de los Muertos to your family, it’s essential to approach the holiday with respect and understanding, acknowledging its cultural and spiritual significance. It’s not just an activity but a deep dive into a rich tradition that teaches us to cherish every moment with our loved ones and to remember those who came before us with joy and love.

Until next time, keep embracing the world’s beauty and sharing its wonders with your little ones!

 

day of the dead

Hands-On Art History: Sugar Skulls
Tue, Oct 10 | 5:00p
LeClaire Library

Online pre-registration is required. Every month we explore a new topic in art history and apply it with a fun craft for all ages. This month learn about Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, as we decorate sugar skulls!

GO HERE FOR PRE-REGISTER: https://www.leclaireiowa.gov/390/Library-Calendar.


Day of the Dead: Family Fiesta
Sun, Oct 15 | 12:00 – 3:00p
Figge Art Museum

Join us as we celebrate Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, at the Figge Art Museum and honor the memories of our loved ones through music, dance, food, and community. Step inside the museum to visit our exhibition to learn some of the beautiful traditions of this holiday. Share a picture or memory of a loved one who has passed. Stop in our studios to create a take-home craft. Enjoy food, fellowship, and culture as you enjoy our family fiesta!


Samhain/Festivals of the Dead
Sat, Oct 28 | 2:00 – 3:00p
Spellbound

All classes are in person at Spellbound. Pay $5 at the door. We encourage pre-registering to receive e-mailed updates for this class only. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/…/samhainfestivals-of-the…


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