Since we've been learning about Mexico the past three weeks in class, I took the kids to another local Arts Center who was hosting a Day of the Dead exhibit last week. The show allowed the kids turn what we had discussed in the classroom into a reality they could experience themselves. Being able to see all the different versions of alters and the kinds of food that are offered to the spirits, really helped them to understand the traditions of the Day of the Dead.
The Center had given several different artists, families, students, and Latino organizations the opportunity to create the traditional alters from their home, since different regions have different types of rituals. The sugar skulls, tamales and fish, prayer flags and decorative breads, were displayed beautifully, embracing the true traditions of the culture and embracing the celebration. Remembering loved ones past has been a foundation in every culture, but I think that the most commemorative, festive, and hopeful way of celebrating the lives of others is captured by the Day of the Dead.