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Day of the Dead - El Dia de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated across Latin America October 31-November 2. During that time, people across Latin America honor their dead and celebrate the cycle of life. The holiday originated in Mexico, though it is celebrated in Guatemala, Bolivia, and other countries in Latin America.  During the celebrations, families and friends of departed loved ones create a space for them to return to the world of the living and celebrate those things which they enjoyed in life. The process embodies the belief that death is a natural and necessary part of life, and invites all participants to celebrate rather than mourn.

Day of the Dead Booklet

Grade Levels: K–4, 5–8, 9–12
Subject Area(s): Spanish, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts
Vocabulary, Classroom Activities and resources for teaching Day of the Dead. 

Día de los Muertos: Students Create Altar Displays
Grade Levels: 5–8
Subject Area(s): Spanish, Social Studies
In this lesson plan, students learn about Day of the Dead altars in Mexico, learn about the traditions associated with the holiday, and produce their own altar displays.

Día de los Muertos: An Introduction
Grade Levels: 5–8, 9–12
Subject Area(s): Spanish
Presentation on the history of Day of the Dead and how it is celebrated in Latin America. Includes images and key concepts to understanding the holiday, characteristics, traditions, rituals, and art, as well as celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia.
Grade Levels: K–4, 5–8, 9–12, College
Subject Area(s): Spanish
This guide gives a colorful historical overview of how el Día de los Muertos is celebrated in some Latin American Countries. In the 16th century Spaniards brought the Catholic celebration of Día de los Muertos to Latin America where it mixed with indigenous rituals honoring the dead. Also available in (Spanish).

Funny Bones: Posasa and his Day of the Dead Calaveras Educator Guide
Grade Levels: K–4, 5–8
Subject Area(s): Spanish, Social Studies, Art, Language Arts
This educator's guide provides Commom Core standards-driven suggestions for teaching Funny Bones: Posasa and his Day of the Dead Calaveras in the Art, Social Studies, English, or Spanish classroom.

Lesson Plans

PDF Barrilete Construction Instructions
Booklet Day of the Dead Booklet
PDF Día de los Muertos: An Introduction
Booklet El Día de los Muertos - History and Customs (English)
Booklet El Día de los Muertos Historia y Costumbres (Spanish)
PDF Tapetes Informational Handout

CLAS Lending Library Resources

Book Day of the Dead (Mexico)
Book Fiesta: Days of the Dead & Other Mexican Festivals
Book The Ancient American World

CLAS Workshop Presentations

PDF Día de los Muertos Celebrations in Guatemala
PPT Entre Santos y Muertos