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Dia de los Muertos

I am a big fan of the idea of celebrating the souls of those we love and have set out to understand more about its celebration and make it part of my tradition. I must admit I am no longer a big fan of Halloween. Once I got scared enough times, I think I decided I'd rather just stay in. I don't like many of the costumes, movies, and gore that goes along with it. But that's me!~
One of my sisters loves skull decorations and whilst gathering trinkets and treasures over the years and living here in a very Hispanic and Catholic Community, I was reminded of Dia de los Muertos.

A bit of simple background from a teaching plan:

November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.

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"People celebrate this holiday in their households, as well as in the cemeteries. In their homes, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 2nd (a time called "Todos Santos"), offerings of food and drink are prepared for the dead. "Ofrendas" (offerings) are often set up in the home on an altar displaying portraits, personal goods, clothing, favorite foods, and possessions of the deceased family member. Sometimes they are shown at the gravesites as well. On Nov. 2nd, family members visit the gravesites of their loved ones. They decorate their graves with flowers, enjoy picnics consisting of favorite foods of the deceased, and socially interact with others at the cemetery. This is an important social ritual that the Latino people see as "a way of recognizing the cycle of life and death that is human existence." In certain areas, an all-night candlelight vigil takes place by the graves of the family members. The whole occasion is festive, and everyone talks of the dead as if they were still al ive. During this time, people "remember, re-live, and enjoy."

So while enjoying the Halloween time I will remember what this celebration means to from a more cultural and spiritual perspective. We will offer praise to those loved ones who have gone before. We will put up a picture of them somewhere to and we will celebrate their love in our lives. We will also honor the spirits of people past wh o have spent their lives doing God's work. And we will have pumpkin carving or painting and yummy treats like these skull cookies.

I threw this recipe together and even improvised a few ingredients based on what was in the pantry and they were awesome! I used chocolate chips for eyes and yogurt pretzels for mouths. I will prepare much better for next celebration and bake some yummy treats!

choice of music for Dia de los Muertos is Devotchka. A Denver based fusion of greatness! Totally appropriate for the occasion. I visited friends one year around Halloween and was priveledged to attend one of their shows. What a treat!

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