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Day of the Dead Celebrations

November 1-2

Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead is an interesting holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul's & All Saint’s Day, the indigenous people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones.

They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours.  On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds), mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the children (angelitos).  Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls, purchased at open-air markets, provide the final touches.

Day of the Dead is a very expensive holiday for these self-sufficient, rural based, indigenous families. Many spend over two month's income to honor their dead relatives. They believe that happy spirits will provide protection, good luck and wisdom to their families. Ofrenda building keeps the family close.

On the afternoon of Nov. 2, the festivities are taken to the cemetery. People clean tombs, play cards, listen to the village band and reminisce about their loved ones. Tradition keeps the village close. Day of the Dead is becoming very popular in the U.S.

Students in 8th grade learned about the holiday for the 1st time and decorated ceramic skull magnets.  Students in 9th grade, or Spanish 1, decorated sugar skull replicas.  And students in Spanish 2, 3, and 4 decorated artwork with glitter and yarn.  

Mrs. White shared with all the students about her trip to the LUX Center For the Arts located on N 48th street just west of Nebraska Wesleyan.  The mission of the LUX Center is to enhance the lives of a diverse public through visual arts by providing opportunities in art, craft, and design.  Festivities at the LUX were held on Sunday, November 1st from 1-4.  Musicians sang amazingly and played guitars and authentic flutes.  In the upper level of the building, children, teenagers, and adults danced to traditional music and enjoyed chips, salsa, and queso.  Activities for children included: creating skull pins, tissue paper flowers, air-dry clay pinch pots, and papel picado.  A friend of Mrs. White's, Jen Deets, who is a talented art teacher at Lincoln High, painted a mural on the outside of the LUX Center.  Ms. Deets has created Day of the Dead artwork for years.  Mrs. White won a raffle and will receive a print of hers for the classroom!

For any further information about the LUX Center, please visit:  luxcenter.org.

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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

p. 402.988.2525f. 402.988.3475

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It is the policy of Freeman Public Schools not to discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, age or national origin in its education programs, administration, policies, employment or other district programs.

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