Our Guest From Mexico

      Every year at the end of October thousands of butterflies come to Michoacan.  That is where Veronica Verduzco comes from in Mexico.  The people there believe that the butterflies bring the spirits of all their dead friends and families back to visit them.  So on November second they celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, The Day Of The Dead.  My class has been doing research on this holiday.  It is a day to honor your ancestors.  Veronica is studying at New York University and she came to visit us from the Global Classroom program at Metro International.
    Their holiday comes around the same time as Halloween but they don't try to frighten children with ghost stories.  They are full of joy and happiness because they want to remember all of the good times they had with the person who died.  They pay their respect and then they eat, sing and dance. I think that what they do is better than what we do because they feel free and happy, not full of sorrow.
    In our country we put the people who died in a coffin and bury them.  After the funeral we pray and we hope they live in a better place in heaven with God.  We believe that they are watching over us.  Sometimes we see pictures of people in heaven with wings like angels and halos on their heads.  But when we looked at pictures on the Internet, we saw that people who celebrate The Day Of The Dead like to see them doing the same things they enjoyed when they were alive, only now they are skeletons.  So we saw them driving in their car and even wrestling.

    My step mother is from Mexico so I already knew something about the holiday.  I like the altars the people make to welcome the spirits of the dead.  They decorate them with papel picado which is paper cut out to make beautiful designs like the skull Veronica brought.  We also helped her to decorate an  altar in class.  It was very creative and colorful.

    The doll represents the person who died.  There is water and hot chocolate for her spirit to drink when it comes back to visit.  The skulls are made of sugar. The Pan Muerto is sweet bread for the dead to eat and the living also enjoy these things at the celebration.
    We put fruit and flowers on the altar and lots of pretty cutout paper.  There was a candle to light the way for the spirit to return.  It had pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary like we have in our church.  We sang a Spanish song that was happy to remember the dead.
    Veronica is a very skilled artist.  She made miniature coffins with skeletons.  Everything was made out of sugar and it all had beautiful colors.  She even decorated the bread she baked.

    It was an extraordinary day.  I learned that you shouldn't be sad about death.  Be happy.  They're having a good time.  They wouldn't want you to be crying.  Tears won't bring them back.  So enjoy your life.  Just be good, and when your time comes, you might go to heaven and be with your friends who passed away too.
Linked Web Sites

Global Classroom, Metro International

Dia De Los Muertos

Grade 5
Mr. Greenberg, Teacher
Public School 241
976 President Street
Brooklyn, New York 11225 USA