Friday marks Day of the Dead

October 30, 2008 2:40:29 PM PDT
While children prepare to dress up as ghosts and goblins, others will remember loved ones. Friday marks not only Halloween, but the Day of the Dead, an important Mexican holiday. Mexican people continue to construct offerings or altars to the dead with variations. These activities usually start on October 31 with the arrival of little angels, the souls of deceased children.

"We are paying tribute to them, and still telling them that we love them and that each year we will remember them in a very special way," said Patricia Carlos, Day of the Dead instructor.

The altars consist of skulls, food and fruit baskets and other figures made of sugar paste. Carlos conducts a Day of the Dead parent workshop at Jose Clemente School in Pilsen and shows them how it is traditional to taste the special bread that is made for the occasion.

"The sesame seeds represents happiness," said Carlos.

Parents also learn how to make and decorate their own skulls out of tissue paper. Christina Montalvan attended the workshop with her boyfriend Jesus Plascencia and his daughter to learn how to do this for the family.

"Something different other than going to the movies, something at home, something cheap," said Montalvan.

"Keep the tradition going and learn how to make a skeleton for the day," said Leticia Badillo, workshop participant.

In Mexico, the Day of the Dead has very old origins. Some say that the Aztecs had cults for the dead. It is simply a day to honor those who have passed on.

"I think this is going to be a great activity for (the kids)," said Maria Gomez, workshop participant. ¶

"We need that time together with our child to hand activities, and doing their skeleton, remembering their tradition, passing it on," said Carlos.

All the workshop participants say they are excited to display their skulls in their altars at home.


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