Day of the Dead is approaching! Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a very special day in many Latin American cultures. Day of the Dead comes from Mexico and takes place over two days: November 1st and 2nd. Día de Los Muertos offers a remarkable perception of death that unites rituals and symbolism that are part of the Mexican cultural identity. Celebrating Day of the Dead with kids is a great way to teach children about death and the celebration of life.
The day is centered around honoring loved ones who have passed. Different towns in Mexico celebrate the festival in various ways, but generally, people believe that Día de Los Muertos is when the souls of the dead come back to visit their families.
Children have their own understanding of death. Each child’s emotional development and environment influence their perceptions about it. In many cases, adults can pass emotionally charged and confusing views about death onto children, along with their fears about it.
Day of the Dead is a wonderful way to facilitate this important dialogue about death while celebrating and honoring loved ones who have passed.
Celebrate Day of the Dead as a Family
1. Go Through Family History Together 🖼️
Remember your parents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and those who are no longer with you. Share photos/videos, stories, and heirlooms to honor them and value the legacy they left. Reflect on these memories with joy and not sadness, it is about celebrating them and being grateful for your family history.
2. Make an Altar 🕯️
Many people like to make a memorial for their loved ones by setting up an altar of offerings in their homes. With your kids, decorate photos of loved ones who have passed away and then put them up on display.
You can include items that were important to your loved ones, such as favorite books, treats, and flowers. Candles are a popular choice, too, but make sure to supervise children around open flames. Adding Marigold flowers to the altar is another common way to commemorate loved ones on Day of the Dead.
3. Watch a Film 📺
“Coco” is an animated film by Disney Pixar that centers around Día de Los Muertos. It’s a great film to get your kids excited about the memorable holiday and help them to understand the cultural tradition of honoring loved ones who have passed away. Films like “Coco” can explain death in a way that is appropriate and comprehensible for children.
Our “Stories for Kids” podcast also has a special episode on the details of Día de Los Muertos!
4. Decorate the Home with Joy 💐
It’s compelling to have children involved in Day of the Dead preparations. This will help convey that the day is a celebration, not a day of sorrow. Decorate with garlands, colorful skulls, and flowers. Put on your family’s favorite music and prepare hearty meals. Immerse kids in a playful and reflective mood while leading them to understand that Day of the Dead is about remembering and honoring those who are no longer here.
5. Get creative! 💀
Skeletons aren’t so scary when you’re celebrating Day of the Dead! The skeletons you’ll see on this holiday are vibrant and fun. They are often posed doing actions such as playing the guitar or dancing. On Día de Los Muertos, the decorated skulls remind us that death is a part of life. They act as a reason to enjoy and celebrate the balance between life and death.
Many people also paint their faces to resemble the face of a skeleton and add flowers to their hair.
Another tradition on Day of the Dead is to decorate sugar skulls with big happy smiles, colorful icing, and glittery accessories. These sugar skulls are not typically eaten, but instead are placed on alters to honor loved ones. Another way to celebrate with your kids is to bake and decorate sugar skull cookies! Your children will love the opportunity to get creative while enjoying a delicious treat.
Check if there’s a Day of the Dead event in your local community. Día de Los Muertos celebrations often involve colorful parades, displays, and cultural practices. It will be a day your kids will remember forever.
Celebrating Day of the Dead can help your kids understand that death is a normal part of the circle of life. Celebrating Day of the Dead can help your kids keep their memories of loved ones close to their hearts. Want to read more about how to talk to your kids about death? Check out this article for tips from a children’s healthcare professional.
Día de Los Muertos and Lingokids 💙
How do you honor loved ones with your family? Let us know by tagging us on social media!