It’s a common misconception that the traditional Mexican celebration of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an extension of Halloween, but nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with, Halloween falls on October 31st and Day of the Dead is observed on November 1st and 2nd. Both do honor the dead and fall on the eve and the day of “All Saint’s Day,” November 1st, but the way the holidays are celebrated and how the traditions have been kept alive are completely different.
Día de Muertos celebrates death as part of life. There are many symbolic elements to the celebration that make it take on a festive atmosphere full of color, smells, foods, and traditions to honor those loved ones that have passed.
One of the best ways to start teaching kids about the history and the true meaning of Día de Muertos is to get them books rich with stories, pictures and activities. I’ve put together a collection of some of our favorite children’s books, many of them in Spanish and English, that are a treasure trove of of information for Day of the Dead and that will just add a cool cultural sparkle to any kid’s home library or even as a gift for teachers.
Check them out and let me know in the comments below if I missed any musts!