When I think of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), my mind instantly takes me to the Disney cartoon, Coco. All the skeletons colorfully dressed and brought to life with dancing and song. For those who are not as familiar with this wonderful Mexican holiday, it is celebrated throughout the world beginning October 31st and ending November 2nd. It is at this time the souls of deceased relatives and friends are welcomed back for a reunion with favorite foods, drinks and celebrations. In their homes, families display ofrendas (altars) decorated with pictures, candles, papel de picado, sugar skulls and orange marigolds. It is here that you will find pan dulces (sweet breads), fruits and favorite foods offered to the deceased.
Often cities throughout the world will have parades where people are dressed in colorful, elaborate costumes, wearing hats and headdresses decorated with vibrant colored flowers and feathers. It is also common to find larger than life skeleton puppets. The Dia de los Muertos Parade in Mexico City is especially famous for these puppets.
You too can make an ofrenda in your home. This is a tradition that my family started a few years ago and something my kids enjoy making every year. It is a time for us to remember grandparents, family members, friends that have died, and celebrate their life. Although ofrendas will typically have real marigold flowers, you can also make paper ones as demonstrated in the activity below.