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Day of the Dead – Book Review

The Days of the Dead are a time to remember those who have died. Families decorate graves and prepare for a celebration. Picnicking with dead relatives is one way many Mexicans celebrate a sacred holiday called Los Dias de los Muertos.

Day of the Dead: A Latino Celebration of Family and Life is written by Carol Gnojewski

Sometime Days of the Dead is called Day of the Dead and is celebrated from October 31 to November 2.

This book explains the Mexican tradition of this holiday and also how the holiday is celebrated in Mexico.

In villages all over Mexico the people are preparing for a big picnic. It is the afternoon on the first of November, and as night falls, candles are placed on the graves and the names of dead family members are spoken. Everyone is in a festive mood and fireworks pop and bang.

Many Mexican cemeteries have raised stone tombs. These are used as tables when they gather around them during the Day of the Dead. Some of the gifts for the dead might be flowers, candles, candies and food. These are spread on top of the tombs as the family gather around. Mariachis sometimes walk among the graves singing to the dead.

Skeletons and skulls are symbols of the Day of the Dead. Some special traditional foods are presented on the altars and eaten as the family visit and speak of the family members who have died. There is a special bread, pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. This sweet bread is flavored with cinnamon or anise seed and is shaped into skeletons with candy faces. There are skull shaped treats made out of chocolate or sugar and sold at the bakeries. Skeleton toys wear clothes and are posed around town on bicycles and chairs. These skeletons are funny not spooky.

Through the United States in Hispanic communities families are celebrating the Days of the Dead. These fiestas may have candle lighting parties, altar making parties and even sugar skull decorating. Day of Dead celebrations are passed down from parents to children.

This 48 page book is written for children eight and above and will help to explain the traditions of the Day of the Dead. Also included in the book is a craft project showing how to make a bendable skeleton.

Titles in the Finding Out About Holidays series:

Christmas: Celebrating Life, Giving, Kindness (Finding Out about Holidays)

Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating Hispanic Pride (Finding Out about Holidays)

Earth Day: Keeping Our Planet Clean (Finding Out about Holidays)

Halloween: Costumes and Treats on All Hallows Eve (Finding Out about Holidays)

Thanksgiving Day: A Time to Be Thankful (Finding Out about Holidays)

Valentine’s Day – Candy, Lace and Hearts

Note: I checked this book out of my local library.

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