Day of the Dead


Barbara J. Feldman

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated on two days, starting November 1. The focus of the joyous holiday is a celebration of the lives of dead family and friends. It a melding of the Catholic holidays of All Saint’s Day (November 1), All Souls Day (November 2) and indigenous festivals that date back thousands of years.

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  • Azcentral.com: Day of the Dead5 stars

    "More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years." In addition to a calendar of Arizona events celebrating the Day of the Dead, Azcentral.com features the history of the holiday, dozens of craft ideas, a glossary, and lots of recipes. But the best click is the Students and Teachers section that includes a printable handout with coloring pages, a word search puzzle, craft templates, and lesson plans.

  • Day of the Dead in Mexico3 stars

    "Day of the Dead in Mexico represents a mixture of Christian devotion and Pre-Hispanic traditions and beliefs. As a result of this mixture, the celebration comes to life as an unique Mexican tradition including an altar and offerings dedicated to the deceased." Photographer Mary J. Andrade has been capturing Day of the Dead celebrations throughout Mexico since 1987. This site showcases her books and photography with a gallery organized by city (such as Tlaxcala and Veracruz) and subject (such as altars, toys, and parade of the children.)

  • Kinderart: Day of the Dead Calavera Skull Masks4 stars

    This beautiful skull mask art project (the Spanish word for skull is "calavera") was designed by teaching artist Anitra Redlefsen. The downloadable templates come in two flavors: one with a design in black and white, ready to be colored, the other a blank mask, ready for your own design. Be sure to also check out Ms. Redlefsen's site, where she has another Day of the Dead art project called Day of the Dead Marigold Sculpture, and the link listed under Resources, which houses lots of Day of the Dead PowerPoints for classroom or after-school club.

  • LIFE: Day of the Dead: Unique Memorials4 stars

    "Two boys earn money by painting graves for families visiting the cemeteries in Manila, Philippines. Families want the graves of their relatives painted so the souls will accept the offerings they put upon the decorated tombstones." Seventeen striking images from LIFE showcase Day of the Dead memorials around the world. Each photo is annotated, and the collection captures the essence of the joyous holiday, in all its diversity. Countries represented include Mexico, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Boliva, Guatemala, El Salvador and England. Following the slide show, are links to additional holiday photo galleries such as Cinco de Mayo, and Halloween.

  • Palomar College: Site for the Dead4 stars

    "The Day of the Dead, contrary to common perceptions, is not homogeneous. On the contrary, since its origin it has constantly changed due to the influence of various groups such as the Olmecas, Mayas, Zapotecas, Mixtecas, Toltecas, Chichimecas and Mexicas among many others. Culture is not static, and the Day of the Dead is a wonderful example of dynamic syncretism since its beginning." From the Multicultural Studies Department at Palomar College (San Marcos, California), this Day of the Dead site covers a lot of ground with its sections on history, traditions, altars, and art, although I found the font difficult to read.

  • Download These Internet Resources as an Ad-Free Printable Handout Just $2.00
  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Day of the Dead." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/day-of-the-dead/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published October 19, 2010. Last modified March 10, 2014.

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