Before our party, our wonderful Education Coordinator Ms. Maggie gathered the children (pre-costume change) to share a cultural lesson with us. It is fascinating to draw similarities between cultures that evolved separately yet along parallel lines, and so she introduced our young ones to the Mexican celebration of 'Dia de los Muertos'.
Like Halloween, Dia de los Muertos holds themes of death, the afterlife, and the spiritual impressions these make on our lives. However, Halloween is the Americanized version of a Scottish tradition! How interesting is it that such themes fascinate and intrigue cultures across the world, inspiring the development of our customs?
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated predominately in Mexico and across the Latin American diaspora. Learn more about the differences between these celebratory customs in this informative video below!
Now, lets go to our lesson of the day. Ms. Maggie wears her traditional wedding gown and shows us pictures of her travels to Mexico! We learned why October 31-November 1 is so significant, combining indigenous and Catholic systems of belief. On midnight it is believed that the souls of deceased loved ones and ancestors are able to come visit the realm of the living if shown the way. Candles are presented to make a path to the homes and light the way. In addition, feasts and offerings are prepared for those who have passed, and are referred to as ofrendas.
We also discussed the tradition of sugar skulls, which are representative of a departed soul and quite often have a name written across the forehead. These are a kind of folk art deriving from a long history of sugar art used on religious altars in the church. They are decorative and have high symbolic meaning, and are included in the ofrendas and gravestones.
Ms. Maggie also brought in her 'pan de los muertos', a traditional sweet bread and a great treat for the kids. Then we handed out their very own sugar skulls to color, and the results were beautiful.
Then the moment we were all waiting for arrived, and our bash began!
We hope you've had a smashing fun time following this year's treat, and that you weren't in for any tricks this Halloween season!
Until next time,