Sunday, October 25, 2009

El día de los muertos

My husband and I recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Five years ago today, we were honeymooning in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as the town was getting ready for the día de los muertos/Day of the Dead holiday. Marc and I were in a cab headed to a nearby beach, when we passed by a beautiful cemetery all decked out in marigolds and other traditional Day of the Dead decorations.

Then we saw something strange . . .

A young woman was crossing the street carrying a human head under her arm.

Luckily, it turned out to be just a mannequin head. She was on her way to the neighborhood beauty school.

Like the mannequin head, the Day of the Dead holiday isn't half as scary as it seems at first glance. It is simply a time to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away. There is even a sense of whimsy to the holiday, almost like our Halloween. One of the most popular symbols of the holiday is the calavera, or skull.

And speaking of The Day of the Dead . . .

Here are some great children's books that celebrate the fun side of the Mexican holiday:

San Vicente, Luis. The Festival of Bones = El Festival De Las Calaveras. El Paso, Tex: Cinco Puntos Press 2002.

Morales, Yuyi. Just a minute: a trickster tale and counting book. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003.

Da Coll, Ivar. El Día de Muertos.
[New York, NY]: Lectorum, 2003.

Winter, Jeanette. Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004.

Ancona, George. Pablo recuerda: la fiesta del Día de los Muertos. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1993.