Día de los Muertos Lessons at Muertitos Fest 2012

As a Latina mom, I’ve been looking for a way to celebrate Día de los Muertos with my sons and hold on to the importance of this day. I didn’t celebrate it growing up so, I’ve taken time to research and learn about it. Three years ago I lost my maternal grandpa (Papo) and then six months later lost my paternal grandma. One of my sons never met them and the other has vague memories. We do tell stories of them regularly but Día de los Muertos and All Saints Day are special dedicated for the celebration of their memory (and more). 

I didn’t create an ofrenda this year. My thought process was “if my familia can learn about it for themselves, maybe they will want to do it without me forcing or asking.” I hope next year we will do so. My boys are young and most of what we’ve seen are the skulls and skeletons. They are kinda scared of them. Does it translate to honoring and celebrating our loved ones’ lives? Luckily for us, we live in San Antonio, TX and I found out about Muertitos Fest at Say Sí, a three day celebration providing comprehensive insights to this significant cultural holiday. Wouldn’t this be a good way to introduce the family to Día de los Muertos? I can talk until I’m blue in the face pero tú sabes, if someone else tells them about it, it is ‘credible’.

Here’s what happened:

First of all, my three-year-old lost interest right away. So my husband took him to wonder around the place and then outside to burn off some of his energy. My oldest son and I went to making Día de los Muertos themed crafts … domino necklaces, embossed cards, bottle cap magnets and more. Thank you volunteers for being patient as we made one for little brother too.

Then we walked around and had some pan de dulce and lemonade while we looked at all the art pieces. Thankfully, there was the story of Día de los Muertos hanging with the art and my son was interested enough to listen while I read it to him.

Finally, we stopped and looked at the ofrenda set up. He was able to see what we had just learned about.

And after all that … my five-year-old asked: “Mami, can we do this for the people in our family who are with Jesus now?’ Ay! heart melts Mission accomplished. I might get my ofrenda next year after all.

2012 was the 6th Annual Muertitos Fest. It featured much more than I could share here including local artists, folk art exhibits, live dance and music performances and more. Please visit www.saysi.org for more information about his gem in San Antonio.