Issuu on Google+

REVIVING THE MEMORY OF DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

BY: LUKE SERAUSKIS


• CHAPTER 1 •

THE LOW DOWN ON DAY OF THE DEAD The Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a festival celebrating the reunion of dead relatives with their families, November 1st and 2nd.
 
 Every year, on November 1st (All Saints Day) and November 2nd (All Souls Day), something unique takes place in many areas of Mexico: Day of the Dead festivities.
 
 Although you may not realize it, people of the Spanish culture tend to celebrate the death of their family, using death as a symbol for peace. This all stems from the ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico, who believed that the souls of the dead return each year to visit with their living relatives - to eat, drink and be merry. Just like they did when they were living. Because of this, many people throw parties, make memorials, and attend festivals in the honor of their lost loved ones.


• Section 1 •

From the Beginning This holiday is a perfect example of the

dead relaxed. The Celts danced around

complex heritage of the Mexican people.

huge bonfires, wearing animal heads and

The beliefs of today's Mexican are based

hides to confuse the spirits and burned

on the complicated blended cultures of

crops and animals as offerings to the

his ancestors, the Aztecs and Mayans

returning dead.

and Spanish invaders, layered with Catholicism. In the eighth century, the

Around the end of the first millennium,

church decreed November 1 as All Saints

the church reinforced its attempt to

Day. On the other hand, the Celtic dead

cover the Celtic celebration by

were believed to have access to earth on

designating November 2 as All Souls'

Samhain,

Day to honor the

October

dead. All Souls'

31st,

Day was

when the

celebrated with

boundary

parades, big

between

bonfires and the

the

people dressed

worlds of

as saints, angels

the living

and devils.

and the 2


• Section 2 •

The Aztecs and Mayans The Aztec, Mayan and other indigenous

Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead) presided

traditions have enhanced the Mexican's

over Aztec harvest rituals using fires and

outlook on death. From these ancestors, they

incense, costumes of animal skins, images of

have formed the idea that, for the day each

their dead and offerings of ceramics, personal

year, their deceased loved ones could return

goods, flowers and foods, drink and flowers.

home to visit. While the church attempted to transform the Daily life in ancient Mexico was so uncertain

joyous celebration to a suitably tragic image of

and difficult that death was expected at every

death and a serious day of prayer focusing

turn. Death, in fact was revered, believed to be

attention and reflection on the saints and

the ultimate experience of life, life's own

martyrs. The people of Mexico did not fully

reward, even welcomed as a better option

adopt the early priests' ideas, and by keeping

when people are struggling for survival.

their familiar ceremonies, All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day evolved into the celebrations

The Mexicans still views death as a transition

that today honor the dead with color, candles,

of life, a normal stage in the circle of life on

and joyous attitudes.

earth, a natural progression, not an ending. When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico they encountered two-month celebrations honoring death, the fall harvest and the new year. For more than 500 years, the goddess 3


• CHAPTER 2 •

VOCABULARY la ofrenda: offering el pan de muerto: bread of the dead cempazuchitl: yellow marigolds that are symbols of death la calaca: whimsical skeleton figure that represents death las calaveras: colorful iced sugar skulls los alfeniques: Poems and songs written about the festival papel picado: the art of Mexican paper cutting copal: burning incense left at altars dia de los muertos: Day of the Dead los angelitos: little angels la fiesta: the party el esqueleto: the skeleton los dulces: the candies las flores: the flowers


• Section 1 •

Knowledge Check! Review 2.1: Do you know the history?

Review 2.2: Do you REALLY know your vocab?

Question 1 of 3

Question 1 of 3

Which major group or religion did NOT play a major role in the creation of Dia de los muertos?

Ofrenda

A. Catholicism

A. offering

B. Aztecs

B. skull

C. Hinduism

C. to mourn

D. Mayans

D. mourning flowers

Check Answer

Check Answer

5


• CHAPTER 3 •

LOOKING INTO THE CULTURE The act of preparing an altar by placing photographs, flowers, candles, favorite foods and drink of the loved one provides a special time to remember, and to transform grief into acceptance. The living invite the spirits of the family to return home for a few hours of laughter, tears and memories. An important aspect of the holiday is the closure that it provides for families who have lost a loved one during the previous year. Without embalming, burial must take place within 24 hours of death. During this short period, the body is laid out in the coffin at home, surrounded by candles, flowers, family and friends. While the family and friends gather, and sit in vigil during the night, then return for another week to recite the rosary, there is often little time for acceptance or reality. Preparing for the return of the spirit each fall lets the family remember and honor their dead, and gives them a chance to heal.

Gallery 3.1 Examples of Altars

Scroll through here to see several examples of creative altars that actual people have built.


• Section 1 •

In-depth Culture Analysis Some families prepare the altar of offerings at the family grave site, lighting a candle for each dead one, remembering the names, and placing flowers or coronas (wreaths) at the cemetery. Many stay to visit, eat, drink and pray while they keep a vigil during the night. All night, throughout the cemetery there is a grand family reunion of huge extended families, alive and dead, as one by one, through stories, memories and dreams, the dead return. On this night, those who wait realize the importance of living to be well remembered, working to be well respected and loving to be well missed.The celebration is not sad and dreary, but cheerful. People are happy to think

that the person they loved will return to be with them and enjoy the pleasures of life with their family. It is also said that death in traditional Mexican culture does not have the same meaning as it does among North Americans and Europeans. Mexicans joke about death and poke fun at it in their art, literature, and music. That's one reason why toys and candies made in the shapes of skulls and skeletons are so common in this season. Death is feared and paid due respect, but it is thought to be an inevitable part of the natural cycle, a phenomenon as logical and natural as life itself. And like all of life itself, death is filled with ironies, not the least of which is that the dead are never really dead but return for this one night of the year. 7


• CHAPTER 4 •

CELEBRATING TODAY Interactive 4.1 Dia de los muertos Interactive 4.2 Understanding Day of the Dead

Here is a short animated clip to give you a better idea of how people celebrate Day of the Dead.

Here is another short video clip from Mexico that shows you why the celebrate this holiday!


• Section 1 •

Checklist 1. Candy skulls 2. Marigold Flowers 3. Candles 4. Symbolic items or significant objects of loved ones 5. Favorite food or drink of loved ones 6. A washbasin, soap, towel, mirror and comb so the spirits can clean up when they return. 7. Water, Salt, and Bread

Preparing the Altar The altar is prepared in a place of honor in the home, using empty boxes on a table to form a pyramid of three or more levels, then a white tablecloth covers it all. Four candles are placed on the top level to represent the cardinal directions. A candle is lit for each dead family member, and one extra so that no one is left out. The candles, which represent hope and faith, burn during the night, so that there is no darkness. Copal is the resinous sap of a Mexican tree, burned as incense since the time of the Aztecs as an offering to the gods. On the Day of the Dead altar, the scent attracts spirits, drawing them home. It is also used to cleanse the area, and to ward off evil. While most altars are laden with the favorite foods, sweets, drinks, and harvest fruits of each family spirit, even the most basic altar includes these basic needs:

9

WATER to quench the thirst and for purification SALT to season the food and for purification BREAD to represent the food needed for survival The fragrance of the cempasuchil leads the spirits home. Sometimes paths of the petals lead out of the cemetery and to the house to guide the spirits. A cross of marigold petals is formed on the floor so that as the spirit approaches the alter, he will step on the cross and expel his guilt.


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! Do you have a loved one that you have lost? If you, now is your time to celebrate them and give them the proper honor they deserve. You will use Globster to create an online poster in their memory. Give us a little information about them, your favorite memories, whatever you feel is significant! Make sure you are using correct grammar and tenses! An example and rubric will be provided!


Credits: Sources: http://quizlet.com/16035769/spanish-vocabulary-for-day-of-the-dead-el-dia-de-los-muertos-flash-cards/ http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/1427-los-dias-de-los-muertos-the-days-of-the-dead http://www.pbs.org/foodancestors/cult.html http://www.mexonline.com/daydead.htm All Images found using ShutterShock

xi


Altar This is a large display constructed for those who have passed in the Mexican culture. These altars are adorned with several of the deceased’s most prized possessions, as well as their favorite foods and items.

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 3 - Looking into the Culture


Aztecs and Mayans These people, along with the Catholics, helped shape the viewpoint of death in the Mexican culture and developed the holiday Dia de los Muertos.

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 1 - From the Beginning


BREAD to represent the food needed for survival; one of the three crucial parts to the Mexican altars

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 4 - Preparing the Alter


Cempasuchil Another word for the marigolds that are used to adorn the altars on Dia de los muertos

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 4 - Preparing the Alter


Copal Resinous sap of a Mexican tree, burned as incense and left at the altar. Said to attract the souls of those who have passed.

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 4 - Preparing the Alter


Dia de los Muertos The holiday that celebrates those who have passed within the Mexican culture that takes place on November 1st and 2nd.

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 1 - The Low Down on Day of the Dead


Mictecacihuatl Lady of the Dead, the goddess who resided over Aztec harvest rituals.

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 1 - The Aztecs and Mayans


November 1st All Saints Day

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 1 - The Low Down on Day of the Dead


November 2nd All Souls Day

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 1 - The Low Down on Day of the Dead


SALT to season the food and for purification; one of the three crucial parts to the Mexican altars

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 4 - Preparing the Alter


WATER to quench the thirst and for purification; one of the three crucial parts to the Mexican altars

Related Glossary Terms Drag related terms here

Index

Find Term

Chapter 4 - Preparing the Alter


Reviving the Memory of Dia de los Muertos